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The sky at the bottom of the walk-in stone well looks almost blue – an illusion. We have not seen the sun for days. The snow is mostly gone, dissolved by days of cold rain. Last night, my niece left us to return to Mississippi with her parents, and it seemed to all of us that her visit had been much too short. Between the rain and a bad head cold that she and I both got, we never got a chance to go sledding, build a snowman – even walks with her Nanna were few and far between. This morning my father and I took down the Christmas tree and put the boxes of lights and ornaments back up in the attic for another year. The tree went out on the back slope below the feeders to provide the birds with a shelter from the weather and a refuge from the sharp-shinned hawk.


Among the baby’s new books, there’s one with a small round mirror on every facing page, each replacing the head of a different animal. She points, chortles, repeats her one word, Dada.

The book is from a series called Baby Einstein, designed to make your child smarter. But what is the lesson? That other beings are nothing but ciphers? I think of Einstein fathering his own thoughts on a non-capricious G-d.

Dada. Very good! And see how it smears when you put your fingers on it? When you bend the page back and forth, see how it warps?

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