The birth of my great-niece and great-nephew makes me ponder infants, etymologically speaking.


Expecting a Girl

On our peripatetic trip across country, we got used to making plans on the fly. And we even forced other people to accommodate our whims. And I’m not talking about our faithful pup, Trio, who had to adjust her “whims” to match ours. I’m talking about my niece, who we didn’t bother to tell we… Continue reading Expecting a Girl

Niagara: our spiritual home

When it's too cold to appreciate Niagara, I really appreciate Niagara. That's because there are so few other people “appreciating” along with me. It was remarkable to be in the city of Niagara Falls, N.Y., the other day and be one of only a few dozen tourists wandering the streets. Normally they're crammed shoulder to shoulder like the boardwalk at the Jersey shore

A childhood dream fulfilled

Some of us have big dreams when we are children of places we want to visit when we are older: Paris, Egypt, outer space. My partner dreamed of visiting the last remaining Corn Palace in the United States. Every two years, her family would drive across the country when her career Navy father was reassigned… Continue reading A childhood dream fulfilled

Gutzon Borglum’s dream

When we crossed the border between South Dakota and Wyoming, I noticed several things right away. The road got better, the grass got greener, there were brown cows as well as black ones, and there was this weird “artistic” tepee at the visitors center. A work of art in some benighted century no doubt. Speaking… Continue reading Gutzon Borglum’s dream

Nirvana—or Hotel Hell

When you travel cross country, every night can become an adventure. That's how we chose to play it. We set off in the morning with bellies full of those weird waffles all the mid-range hotels let you make for yourself, grateful for the sun in our eyes, with the notion only of Heading East. We… Continue reading Nirvana—or Hotel Hell

Old Faithful faithfully erupts

Old Faithful. The name itself is comforting, a big old lap you can snuggle in. We’ve all seen countless pictures of it, all of it with the geyser at full steaming height. But in person, it both satisfies and disappoints. There were maybe a dozen cars in the parking lot that morning. A crowd! The… Continue reading Old Faithful faithfully erupts

No yellow stones, but a few bison

There's something eerie about driving through someplace empty that you know is designed to be busy: a parking lot, for instance, or a national park whose photos of congested traffic are legendary. That's what we encountered at Yellowstone. We arrived during the last days of its 2016 season. The ranger at the west entrance gave… Continue reading No yellow stones, but a few bison