Rising from Travel Trauma

Last spring when my friend Caroline offered me her holiday home as my private writing retreat, I was thrilled. Though we’d never met in person, we’d been in contact since 2016 just before I left Morocco. After I moved to the Dominican Republic, she bought the house and sent me photos of each phase of…

Woods in Winter

Today was the first time in almost three years I’ve crunched through snow. I didn’t laugh like I did  sledding in the Atlas Mountains,  but sliding along with Ella in our quiet Walden Woods was happiness. Peace. A snow day–time no longer spoken for– is a gift that feeds the soul. Frozen flakes falling like manna from heaven….

Wisdom Wanted for the New Year

It was a good day. My coworkers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic  greeted me Latin-style after our being off for 3 weeks for Christmas break. Hugs. Kisses.  Big smiles.  “Happy New Year!” “Feliz ano nuevo!” On my way to the grocery an older lady saw me trying to cross the street in the rain and…

Road Trip to Samana Province: Day One

I understand now why local friends kept saying they love  vacationing in Samana.  While Punta Cana on the easternmost tip of The Dominican Republic is better known by tourists for mammoth all-inclusive resorts, Samana on the north shore is more a Mom and Pop kind of place–pristine and private.    The beach above, Caylo Levanto,…

Of Seeing and Believing: The Three Eyes

Yesterday I went spelunking. I was excited when my friends, Sana and Steve, invited me to join.  Though newlyweds, their kindness and inclusiveness from the day we met blessed Taylor and me.  Trusting them as history teachers and adventurers, I did no research but quickly scanned a few photos online and took off.  As I’d…

Singing in the Dark

Six months after Whitney Houston’s death, the movie, Sparkle, a twelve-year project she co-produced, was released. It was a remake of a movie she fell in love with as a teen. The movie she’d hoped would be her comeback was her swan song. The girl who began in gospel, who struggled, who died…a woman loved…

Seven Secrets Venice Shared

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.–Rainer Maria Rilke I preferred one waltz with a beauty to a lifetime with someone less rare.–Marlena de Blasi, author of A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance I wondered if I’d feel the same after seven years, Venice. Were the…

In Cologne but Never Alone: Reminded by Christmas to Fear Not

  Christmas is charged with nostalgia. I’m in bed looking out my window at the Market of the Elves in Cologne, Germany. Under tents and trees all lit up, replicas of funny bearded men beckon below. Elf statues are more numerous here than in pictures of Santa’s workshop in the book Mama Lou read to…

Crib of Hope

Twisting my hair in her tiny hands, her brown eyes,–no–her entire body laughed. Even before I picked her up, she shook with glee, stiffened her legs, and tried to jump from the straps of her baby seat into my arms. I thought of my own little girl at six months so precious and full of…