The Island in Winter

Friday, February 26th, 2021


We walk to the island. The children take turns pulling.



Akiva does not need to drink much water in winter: he eats the snowballs from his fleece mittens. When I notice his once-white chewing gum has become pink, I realize he has side-stepped the food-chain of microplastics consumption assumed in oceanic plastics pollution studies and gone directly to the source. I wonder how many thousands of plastic microfibers he has consumed on this walk. I feel helpless.



At the island, the tire swing, high above the river in summer, hangs low above the snow.

Iris steps onβ€”






Akiva, shorter rounder and nearly as heavy, is more timid on the swing.

Iris pushes him gently.



He smiles bravely.


Johnville Bog, Winter

Friday, February 19th, 2021

In winter, the boggy back trails of the Johnville Bog & Forest Park freeze over.

The park management opens them up for foot traffic.





Β Β 

Far off the well-beaten track of boardwalks and open bog lands, the boreal forest is full of hops.*






We examine some rabbit poo. They seem to have been eating mostly bark and needles.

Looking around, I have no idea what else rabbits could possibly eat.






*Rabbit tracks



Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Today’s snowflakeβ€”



Monday, February 15th, 2021

Akiva and I have been having fun playing with geometric wooden pattern blocks together.

He says we need more.


“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could…”

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

There was an argument. I bricked up the doorway and told them they would need to solve their own problems. Immediately, the problem was solved, but the bricks remained. Now when they argue inside, I say, “I can take down the wall or you can solve the problem yourself.” For now, they like the wall.




I enjoy my key-hole view of a place reserved exclusively for children.






“I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up.

Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones.

For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!”

β€” Edgar Allen Poe, The Cask of Amantillado

Mandatory Quarantine

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

This our third quarantine since the US-Canada border closed nearly a year ago.


Bunny in the house

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

When it is cold and lonely out, Tucker comes inside the house for snuggles.



When he gets too hot in his winter coat, he hops back outside.

Girls & Boys

Saturday, December 26th, 2020

Mom (a.k.a. Gramma) found some hair rollers in among her things. They’re probably from the 1950s or 60s. I remember she used them once in the 1980s. I don’t believe that she has used them since, so I suggested that she did not need to keep them anymore if she wanted to increase the quantity of space in her house. To prove me wrong, she put rollers in her hair and in Iris’s hair.




Here they laze on the bed

reading glossy magazines about one of my mother’s many, many hobbies: construction and renovation.




My mother is snacking on matzoh. Bert famously told Ernie not to eat cookies in bed. He told Ernie not to eat cookies in bed because then he would get crumbs in the sheets and then the crumbs would get in his pyjamas and then he would itch and then he wouldn’t be able to sleep. To circumvent this issue, Ernie went to Bert’s bed to eat his cookies. Earnie was quite creative! My mother is also creative. To avoid crumbs in her bed, she puts plenty of butter on her matzoh.




I take over 100 photos before Mom tells me that I likely have enough.




I don’t agree with her.




I think I should take more.




Isn’t that silly?




Eventually, they go to the vintage 1950s time-capsule bathroom

to take the vintage 1960s rollers out of their hair. Mom looks dashing with her curlers out!




She isn’t smiling at herself in the mirrorβ€”




She is smiling at Iris’s smile.




The rollers went back in the drawer, but Mom’s not going to use those rollers again.Some day when Iris is tall and lovely, we’ll be going through her grandmother’s stuff deciding where to donate it all. We’ll find the rollers. I’ll remind her of the last time her grandmother used them. She’ll remember, of course, because she’s seen some photos, but what she won’t know is that, unlike most photoshoots where I’m able to get rid of up to 90% of the photos, I had a really hard time getting rid of any of these photos.



♦  ♦  ♦



Akiva, meanwhile, is in his uncle Dan’s room.




His absolute favorite thing to do while visiting, when he isn’t zipping slot-cars around a track,

is to go through Dan’s old Matchbox cars.




Now and again Akiva checks to make sure that Dan adds enough cars to his drawings

or to see if he is looking up photos of old-fashioned cars on the computer.




Now and again Dan checks to make sure

that there is still a little boy happily playing with cars in his room.







Why did the turkey cross the border?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Preparation of the stuffing: the slicing of the loaves.





There are no photos to prove the tale, but I will tell it to you anyhow. The second turkey, wrapped in insulative material, made it to the US port of entry at the Thousand Islands Crossing late on the evening of December 18, 2020. Arriving at the closed border after a week of isolation to limit the spread of COVID 19, we were asked the usual questions. It was then that I declared the turkey.


“Is it of Canadian origin?” asked the man.

“Yes,” I replied, tho I had not ever procured a passport for the turkey.

“Like, a Walmart turkey?” asked the man.

I thought about it. Yes, a broad-breasted white turkey raised in my back yard had many things in common with a Walmart turkey. Therefore, it was like a Walmart turkey.

“Yes,” I said, honestly.

“Well, I’ll need to inspect it to be sure it has a ‘Canada’ stamp. I need to be sure it’s of Canadian origin.”

I wondered why I hadn’t thought of writing “Canada” on the turkey. It would have been a simple thing.

“There is no ‘Canada’ stamp on the turkey,” I replied.

“Well, then, I’ll have to confiscate the turkey,” said the man. “If there is no stamp, there is no way to be sure that it is a Canadian turkey.”

My eyes blurred. “Can you give it to someone who needs a Christmas dinner?” I asked.

“All items confiscated at the border are disposed of immediately,” he replied.


In my mind I remembered the bright day when we took the turkeys for a walk in the field behind the house. They were big by then, and they had a hard time holding up their breasts. I am certain they enjoyed the bugs, but I felt for them, their weak hearts beating furiously in their chests. They rested frequently. After walking the length of three back yards, they were exhausted. The children and I returned home followed by two brilliant, comical white birds in a field of flowers and green. Despite the fact that the ultimate journey of the birds was toward dinner, we really, truly loved them.


“Well,” I said. “I am certain it is a Canadian turkey. Would you like me to tell you how I know it is a Canadian turkey?”

“Yes,” said the man. “I’m sure you know. Why don’t you tell me how you are so certain it is a Canadian turkey.”

“Well,” I said, not really crying, “we had two turkeys in our back yard all summer. One was for Thanksgiving, the other for Christmas. This Christmas turkey grew up in our back yard.”

“I’ll have to take your turkey,” said the man. “I’m just following the law. If you want to plead your case, you can go inside.”

“I’ll go inside,” I said, and followed his directions to the proper door.


After a good amount of waiting with one extremely tired, whiny child and one extremely anxious, crying child, someone finally came to speak to me.

“So, tell me about the turkey,” he said.

“Well,” I began, “We raised two turkeys in our back yard over the summerβ€””

“What condition is the turkey in?” he interrupted.

“I killed it and plucked it and gutted it and put it in the freezer back in October,” I replied.

“It’s a frozen turkey?” asked the man.

“Yes,” I said, “It’s a frozen turkey.”

The man turned around to his co-workers. “Guys! It’s a frozen turkey!” He turned back to me and smiled. “Take your turkey and enjoy your stay in the US.”

As we left, I could hear him repeating to his co-workersβ€” “Frozen turkey, guys. It’s a frozen turkey. Frozen turkey…”

Aah, the border.


Do golf courses ever change?

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

β€”I wonder, looking at the photograph. I don’t think so.




The whole course looks nearly identical to how it looked 40 years ago. They had made the sledding hill un-sleddable when they changed the retention pond and the structures nearby, but that was in the late 1980s. A decade later, a ferocious storm blew down some treesβ€” but not as many as it blew down elsewhere. The falling down storage barn is still falling down. Most notably, there is significantly less snow. I’m so struck by the sameness of the grounds that I decide to look to see if anyone has done a series of photographs documenting change on a golf course. I find some studies. Although the changes are measured in yards over decades, golf courses do change. Yet, the ultimate question remains unansweredβ€” Why do people watch golf on television?Β