the other side

Everything you know about Aspen is true. Everything and more. Calling it a small Colorado ski town is like calling a humvee a car---you're not wrong, but you're not really right either. Aspen is a town wedged into a northward-slicing valley, mountains cradling it like arms. Everything about it is pristine, from the level sidewalks, …

To Chingachgook

Once upon a time, I worked at a camp called Chingachgook. It was a sprawling camp nestled in the southern Adirondacks with a 32.6 mile lake at one end and a 2,631-foot mountain at the other. It was home to squirrels and owls and eastern newts. It was home to dozens of staff members, their …

the art of looking

  “In a world myriad as ours, the gaze is a singular act: to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.” –Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous Taxonomy is the "orderly classification of plants and animals." Meaning this is an orchid, this is a lupine, they are …

Goodbye for Now

You get into your car and drive. Mile after mile. Left turn then a right. You feel the tension pulling you backward, a slow, forceful tug telling you to turn around, to gobble up your goodbyes, to stay. Part of you wants to stay. Staying is easy. Staying is safe. But a storm recently took …

Three Moments (Part II)

  One I am sitting at the check-in desk waiting for weekend arrivals. It is early in the fall season, and I'm still adjusting to the shift. Cabins in place of tents, refrigerators in place of bear canisters, paperwork and formalities in place of primal summer wildness. I am sad to see summer go. Even …

Thank You

"Strawberries first shaped my view of a world full of gifts simply scattered at your feet. A gift comes to you through no action of your own, free, having moved toward you without your beckoning. It is not a reward; you cannot earn it, or call it to you, or even deserve it. And yet …

Three Moments

One I have a group of eight students. It is their first week of school. We're going to do some get-to-know-you games, I say. To start, let's go around the circle and say our name and favorite holiday. You can go first. I gesture to my left. The boy shakes his head as he looks up at me. …

Paper Worries

“I sometimes think that the size of our happiness is inversely proportional to the size of our house.” --Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts I have many hobbies and one of them is worrying. I worry about getting my heart broken, being stuck in an unfulfilling life, and money, often money. My money worries come suddenly and with …

What Blossoms From Anger

When I was eleven, I wrote a strongly worded email to General Mills arguing that gymnast Paul Hamm should be on a Wheaties box. I didn’t regularly eat Wheaties and I didn’t do gymnastics, but I thought that the red-headed gymnast was adorable and talented and totally deserved to be smiling up at frazzled grocery …

Wild Child(ren)

      "What's this tree's name? C'mon, we just went over it." I point to a slender tree with gray bark peeling off like wallpaper. The kids look at it uncertainly.        "I know it!" A girl exclaims, tugging on her braid. Her eyes widen in revelation. "A shaggy hickey!"     …