I’m a Great Bowerbird

The Great Bowerbird lives in Australia. To attract a mate, it collects up to 1,000 objects, mostly white objects—stones, snail shells and sea shells. It stores and maintains its collection in a two-walled bower or shelter for years. I already have a mate, but my collection of objects—some of them are white—numbers more than 1,000. […]

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The strength of our land

Near her art in an exhibit in Santa Fe, I read these words from AnaMaria Samaniego. “It is important to understand the strength of our land. To recognize its gifts, to cherish its beauty and to feel its soul.” Samaniego’s “Entre Por La Cocina” was part of a temporary exhibit of work from the New […]

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Why do we read?

“We read to know that we are not alone,” C.S. Lewis once said. And, R.D. Cummings once said, “A good book has no ending.” I recently found those two quotes on the wall near a bookcase in Tulsa . –Joy

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Crimes against guacamole

New Mexico is serious about its guacamole. A leaflet I read at Tomasita’s restaurant in Santa Fe listed these crimes against guacamole. In 2014, Bon Appetit published a recipe for guacamole with chopped celery, claiming that “it will keep your teeth happy.” British department store, Mark and Spencer, offered brusselmole, a version of guacamole made […]

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Another person

“Inside every person is a universe, and we’ll never know what it feels like to be another person,” author Elizabeth Strout told Time magazine in its May 15, 2017 issue. And, then, Strout concluded, “Which is horrifying.” Horrifying? That’s a strong word. I try to understand what another person is feeling. I think I can […]

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Who’s normal?

“Someone you don’t know very well,” my friend Mary told me recently. –Joy

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Her daughter’s secrets

Marilyn, a character in the book Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, had left her daughter, who was only 11 months old, playing on a quilt in the living room and gone into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. Marilyn was startled to find Lydia, who had taken her first steps, […]

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Free from family?

Her brother Nath was ready to leave his family and go away to college—“to start over as a new person with a new life.” It’s “just a problem of geography,” he thought, “with the confidence of someone who had never yet tried to free himself of family.” Most of us, like Nath, a character in […]

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A deep sense of satisfaction

It’s sometime in the 1970s when Marilyn’s mother dies and Marilyn finds her mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook, “spine cracking and mended, twice with Scotch tape.” Marilyn, a character in the book Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, flips through the book, reading. “Always cookies in the cookie jar! Is there a happier symbol […]

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The sky and the mountains

Whenever I go to New Mexico, I feel a little more relaxed, much more peaceful. I think my feelings have something to do with the immense sky, the lovely mountains, the stark beauty of the landscapes. But, I need to remind myself that I can feel that same peace when I notice the sky and […]

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