Soothing a Child’s Heart

Our children are grieving; they miss their schools and their friends, their birthday parties and play dates. They miss beloved grandparents and nannies, aunts, uncles, cousins and babysitters. An entire season has been excised from their lives.

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Close Encounters

I lift the beetle and a shriek fills the room—a noise one might expect from a mynah bird or a cat whose tail is caught in a door, not from anything this size. Startled, I drop the beetle. It scurries under the clawfoot tub.

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Keeping a Nature Journal

During the coronavirus, our daily forays into the natural world have kept us sane, and we’ve been extremely grateful for access to a park, a hiking trail, a meadow or a garden. As our world shifts, we keep returning to the landscape for a sense of solace, and more of us are keeping a Nature Journal.

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The Childhood Home as Destiny

Conjure up the house you grew up in and you will instantly recall the friendships you made in grammar school, the scars you got on the playing field, your first passion for poetry or microscopes, the day you felt the first pangs of regret, the moment you realized that you were capable of love.

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Poe’s Philosophy of Furniture

In the internal decoration, if not in the external architecture, of their residences, the English are supreme. The Italians have but little sentiment beyond marbles and colors…The Hottentots and Kickapoos are very well in their way — the Yankees alone are preposterous.

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The House as Storyteller

I was built in Smyrna in 1890, the year of Esma’s birth. A slender, many-roomed Victorian dwelling of wormwood, snuggling against an unworldly, umbrageous rock—obsidian, rumored to have been lowered down from the sky, the rock that gave the district its name. Karatash, or Black Stone. Some believed that the myrrh tree in the garden was the actual Adonis tree.

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Variations on a Home Depot Paint Sample

To mix Desert Sunrise 230B-4, combine equal parts vodka, orange juice, pineapple juice, and troposphere; add grenadine syrup to taste. Throw in blender with ice cubes and a handful of red dirt. Blend. Next drive westward all night along I-80 until you reach Wyoming.

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Literary Homes in Paris

Feminist writer Anna de Noialles set the trend for the ultra-quiet writer’s den. Marcel Proust, followed suit, writing his novels in a sound-proof room.

Some writers do their best work when they withdraw from society, working in a kind of fevered isolation.

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The Domestic Apologies

Apology to the Fish

If I’d known how poorly I keep fish, I’d never have allowed such a large tank.

Apology to the Dog

You have a dog bed in nearly every room, and I’m not sure what you think we are trying to tell you. I will try to walk you more often, but you’ll only be searching for my wife—giver of treats and scratches.

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