Tag Archives: The Water Will Hold You

The Unbaked Pies

  This essay first appeared in the 12/27/96 issue of East Bay Express.  Eighteen years later, on the 5th day of Christmas,  it feels as much a seasonal post as anything new I might write.      A week before Thanksgiving, and I’m making a list. Canned pumpkin. Evaporated milk. Nutmeg, allspice, and – after double-checking the cupboard – cinnamon: spices I won’t use again until next year. I flip through The Joy of Cooking to a page stained with flour and butter, and after reviewing Basic Pie Crust, lift the sack of flour next to the Special K to … Continue reading

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Why Manzanita?

I just spent four days in silence.  Every year, I load up the car with warm comfy clothing, good walking shoes that can get wet, ample reading material, knitting, my rosary beads (the Anglican rosary, which I’ve been carrying around for almost twenty years) and prayer book, and drive up to Healdsburg.  To, specifically, the Bishop’s Ranch on the west side of Healdsburg, in the Russian River valley.  This year, it poured rain pretty much nonstop, a welcome saturation in these years of drought, for those above flood level at least.  I arrived at the Ranch around four o’clock on … Continue reading

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Welcome Back

The holiday cookies are baked and the wreath’s hanging on the door. Sort of. I’ve baked holiday cookies once, maybe twice in my life. It’s not that I don’t like holiday cookies. I love holiday cookies—at least most of them. Gingerbread men are cute, with icing outlining their chubby little feet and hands, even if you crack your teeth on those little silver balls. I adore butter cookies, especially shaped into wreaths. Even typing the words “Pecan Sandies” makes me drool. But if you stop by our house this month, you’re not likely to be offered a plate of home-baked … Continue reading

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Crossing the Bridge

Bridge-crossing is a metaphor, of course, and a clichéd one at that.  It’s also an action grounded in regular habit for anyone who lives near water:  to get to work, to school, to home, we cross a bridge. Growing up, I crossed one bridge most often:  a world-famous landmark, its International Orange towers looming on movie posters, picture-book covers, and tourist postcards.  As a girl, I knew it as the slightly eerie, almost ghostly passage home from my grandfather’s house.  Miles of highway, city boulevard, and then, the fog-swirling bridge itself, huge lights casting the air outside the back window … Continue reading

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Story of an Ending*

Halfway through the year, a visitor appeared to a teenaged girl.  This was no ordinary visitor. The visitor greeted the girl, who was perplexed, even troubled, by the greeting.  Why had this extraordinary visitor come?  Don’t be afraid, the visitor told her, and then went on to say that the girl had found favor with God and would conceive and bear a son.  The visitor told her the son’s name and predicted greatness for him—a throne, even.  This troubled the girl even further.  She’d never slept with a man, as she pointed out to the visitor—how could she conceive? And, … Continue reading

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