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Balance. Simple yet complicated. Straightforward yet paradoxical. Summation yet cancellation.

An equation. Perhaps the equation?

“Well, it’s all about balance,” she says, using a favorite buzzword to describe how she manages to do it all, and with such ease.

It sounds so easy. The spouse, kids, pets, house, career, hobbies, etc., all wrapped up in a neat and tidy little package and

gingerly . balanced . like . a . wavering . smile. ←

It’s also touché. And cliché. And maybe a little bit BS? Because balance-as-buzzword fails to acknowledge that the effort necessary to achieve a state-of-balance requires…

We pulled into camp just as the final sliver of sun disappeared behind the buttes. Mom cranked the wheel to the left, braked, shifted to reverse and, looking over her shoulder backed the truck between the other vehicles. “Let me tell your dad about what happened today, OK?” she said, eyeing me intently as I unbuckled my seatbelt. I pulled my greasy hair into a ponytail and smoothed out the crumpled green and blue plaid hat that had been lying in my lap, setting it back on my head. …

“Home is the nicest word there is.”

— Laura Ingalls Wilder

A little house in a shaded neighborhood, nestled in a planned suburb for the workers of George Westinghouse’s modern marvel of a company, part of an experimental utopian ideal in which executives, head engineers, and machinists live side by side, their children attend the same schools, dads invite one another to front porch gatherings and backyard barbecues, and mothers host church basement bake sales.

A little house next to other little houses, some bigger houses, and a few grand houses in the eastern hills above the city and rivers…

This is your perspective.

Your singular view. The area between where you stand and the object of your attention. A matter of distance — of time and space. The closer you stand, the details become more pronounced, though the sum of parts escapes your frame of vision. The further away, the details meld, but the bigger picture now comes into focus.

We all lose perspective at one point or another. …

I hear them first. The many timbres of voices rising and falling in conversation, the bright sizzle of a hot pan, a quick pop as a bottle of wine opens, the click and clack of dog claws pacing across the wooden floor, the yawning open and shut of the oven door. Soft and comfortable. A warmth of sound.

Memories— the abstracted elements of sight, sound, taste, feel, and touch, fused together and rounded, like polished stones on a river bank, grains of soft sand underfoot. Memory is impromptu and fortuitous, catalogued and retrievable, buoyant and intangible.

Outside the snow is…

Bristlecone Pine. © Ansel Adams

The stillness envelops the hills and valleys like a soft mist. Lulled by the waking, sitting, pacing, and sleeping, each foggy day melts into the one ahead and falls in line with the ones behind.

The homes, their day-lit moments once spent in silent and watchful anticipation, now adopt new rhythms — heartbeats pulsing from the activity of newfound hours. Families, neighborhoods, workplaces, towns, cities… separate yet connected by an invisible and electrified network. A chorus of voices and a patchwork of faces, traveling on waves, shielded by screens, walls, windows, porches, and fences.

A captive[ated] audience.

Action in [in]action.

Eastern Wyoming is an endless landscape of arid grassland dotted with the occasional antelope and constant invasion of oil companies, coal processing plants, and signs that read “blast area — stay clear of orange cloud”. Alongside these signs, historical markers note various cattle drive and settler paths, mythologized memories of cows, cowboys, and covered wagons that stole their way across this land.

The advent of barbed wire divided the open range, inspiring sentimental country songs lamenting the lost “golden age” of Western expansion. The dry, rolling grassland was roped and restrained by spools of wire and posts — compartmentalized, contained…

Illustration by Garth Williams

“Be still and cool in thine own mind and spirit.”

— George Fox, Founder of the Society of Friends

I attended Quaker Meeting in West Falmouth, MA, for the first time on Sunday. This new attention to the religious life came about when I discovered that on my maternal grandmother’s side, my first “American” ancestors, were born over 390 years ago, right here in Barnstable County, MA. Barnstable County has the oldest continually running Quaker meeting in the country — and a relatively small portion of my DNA possesses the genetics of the people who helped found it! What a…

“I don’t have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I feel it particularly when I’m out in nature. It’s just something that’s bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it’s enough for me.”

— Jane Goodall

“Come with me,” he said, as he swan-dove into the water. As his feet disappeared, the back of the pickup where we’d been sitting turned into a small wooden boat, rocking on a calm sea. I replied “I can’t”, but, after my usual hesitance, I…

Jennica Deely

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