“So, How’s Your Weather?,” column for Tues., April 21, 2015

On a clear day, from where I sit, you can see forever.
Well, more or less.

My desk is wedged into a bay window of our home on a hill just outside Las Vegas. Facing west, it looks out across the desert and a patchwork quilt of subdivisions to a point at which civilization ends and the Spring Mountains rise up, rugged and majestic, reaching up to heaven.

I never get tired of this view. It changes throughout the day. As the sun makes its way across the sky, the hills and valleys and ridges in the mountains take turns lighting up and going dark, like actors on a stage sharing the spotlight. [Read more…]

“When There’s Nothing You Can ‘Do’ …” column for April 14, 2015

Have you ever wanted to do something for a friend who was hurting, but it seemed there was nothing you could do? What if you could lift the weight of the world, just a little, off her weary shoulders and carry it for her for a while? [Read more…]

“Shadow Dancing,” column for April 7, 2015

A funny thing happened to me recently. You probably wouldn’t give it a second thought, but I can’t stop thinking about it.

OK, I’ll just tell you. A man asked me to dance, and I turned him down. No big deal, right? Nothing to obsess about. So why am I obsessing? [Read more…]

“The Spring-Green Persistence of Life,” March 31, 2015

For me, two of the loveliest words in the English language are “Life persists.”

I happened on them years ago as a college freshman, sitting in the library on a gorgeous spring day, bored spitless, working on a history paper. I don’t recall what I was researching. Funny, isn’t it, the things we find while looking for something else? [Read more…]

“The Healing Magic of Stories,” column for March 24, 2015

Children are like sponges soaking up drops all around them, especially the drops you’d rather they not touch. But they are also excellent teachers.

My brother, blind from birth, taught me how to see the world, not just with my eyes, but with all my senses. He taught me other things, too, like how to be pig-headed and never confuse pickles with jalapeno peppers. [Read more…]

“My ‘Best’ Friend Mae,” column for March 17, 2015

Memorial services are not my idea of a good time. But a life well lived is cause to celebrate.

Mae Carol Johnson grew up in the 1930s in Columbus, Ga., a beloved child of the segregated South with three strikes against her odds for a brighter future: She was poor, black and female. [Read more…]

“The Kindnesses of Strangers,” column for March 10, 2015

My P.O. box for reader mail held a card telling me to call at the window. Never a good sign. I’d been away for a month. I expected a lot of mail. Then the clerk at the window raised his eyebrows and handed me not one, but two, very full boxes.

[Read more…]

“Me and a Nasty Little Man Named Arthur,” column for March 3, 2015

It was not part of the plan. Or, at least, not my plan. I guess you could just call it life.

One morning, after returning from four weeks in California (where I’d welcomed a new grandbaby and tried to help by riding herd on her two older brothers), I stepped out of bed and put my feet on the floor.
Suddenly, for no reason, a mean little man with a nasty evil grin jumped out from under the bed and stabbed a rusty ice pick through the top of my left foot. [Read more…]

“Follow Your Heart”

A covey of quail skitters across the lawn, spooked by my arrival. Or maybe my lack of makeup. A dozen finches wait turns at the feeder, chattering like tourists in a buffet line. A breeze rustles the palm fronds and sunlight streams through silver clouds to shine like beacons on the desert.

I wish you could see it.

On a spring-like day in the dead of winter, I’m sitting on my patio feeling lucky. I’ll tell you why, after a bit of background. [Read more…]

“In the Big Pool of Love and Life,” column for Feb. 17, 2015

At the shallow end of an indoor Olympic-size pool at the Sports Center in Monterey, Calif., he waits for a signal from the instructor to join the class.

“Come on in, Randy,” she calls, and he wades right in, grinning and unafraid, a 4-year-old Neptune splashing boldly into his watery kingdom.

And suddenly the room grows brighter. Randy is my grandson. He shines like the sun. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. [Read more…]