The Don of Rawson Pond

The mafia don runs our pond.

But he hasn’t been around yet. He usually lets everyone settle in, fluff their early spring nests and birth their babies in May. Every year I hope he’ll forget about this pond and won’t come looking for his protection payments.

Probably not. The pond’s spring cycle works like clockwork.

The peepers start singing exactly on cue between March 25–28. They have never disappointed me in the 30 years we’ve lived on the pond.

Then come the Canadian Geese, hundreds of them swarming the pond in late March, just after the peeper all-soprano choir. …

“You bring up ideas that you haven’t thought through and you don’t stick to the agenda. Your presentation skills need work, too. You go off script and your hands and arms distract from what you’re saying,” explains my boss to me during the always fun annual performance review.

“Wait, you know Toni, that famous London presentation guy the agency brought in? He loved my style. He even asked me to help him with his business. And you’re criticizing me for my presentation style? Really?” I shoot back, incredulous at this “improvement area.” Sure, if I was being dinged on administrative…

photo by @BekkyBekks

So, what brings you here this morning?

My friend Maria told me I should talk to you. She thinks I’m depressed.

Are you?

No, I’m just feeling kind of lost.

Tell me more.

Well, I have this hunger to wander. To take off without a schedule. With no responsibilities or commitments.

Where would you go?

First, I’d drive up the coast of Maine, get the ferry to Halifax, and then wander through Nova Scotia and hang around Cape Breton for a while. Then, I’d head south to Georgia and get the ferry to Cumberland Island, the place where the horses…

Photo by Ian Cylkowski for Unsplash

The teashop sits at the end of a mile-long dirt lane. One room, fire blazing, with windows overlooking the sea, which is wild and rough this August afternoon.

We are lost in a month-long adventure. No plans, no reservations, no expectations. Just the thrill of walking away from jobs, mortgages, car payments and being free in Scotland.

This is our second trip to the tiny teashop on the Isle of Skye. Today is a celebration of sorts, and we are eating chocolate fudge cake. It is moist, gooey but substantive, soaking up the heavy cream in which it sits.


I see more when I’m alone.

The hooded mergansers on the pond, with their black and white grace.

The old woman’s hair dye, an unusual grey/blue color. Does she do it herself? Does she like the color or is it a mistake?

A middle-aged man’s beer belly, tired bomber jacket, and sensuous eyes and mouth. He must have once been a looker.

The spiked high heeled shoes with the red soles. Who teaches women to walk in stilts? My friends and I are stiletto illiterates.

The vivid green pine needles on young hemlocks. I can’t pass one without taking off…

The Catholic Church is obsessed with sacrifices.

The Lamb of God.

Jesus up there on the cross for our sins.

Having too many children vs. being “allowed” to use birth control and having enough money for those children born one year after another.

Sacrificing sex for celibacy.

Sacrificing the Bible because Catholic children learn to memorize the Catechism. “Where is God. God is everywhere.”

Sacrificing compassion to family members who want to play a favorite piece of music at their mother’s funeral. “That music doesn’t fit our Church guidelines for funeral music.”

Sacrificing women’s identity by denying them the right…

Why are you interested in caring for Creativity, Ma’am? According to our records, you are attentive for some weeks and months and then you starve her.

I never starve the child. She’s the one who runs down to the basement and refuses to eat. So, I ignore her until she’s ready to come out. I really can’t stand her inconsistent whiny behavior.

Ma’am, Creativity needs to be nurtured. You can’t expect her to be perfect. You’ll always be disappointed if you do.

Forget perfection, I can’t stand those screechy practice sounds she makes. …

Let Me Be Lazy: collage by Lois Kelly

What surprises me most about my life right now is how lazy I want to be. My life has always been:

List, list, list.

Plan, plan, plan.

Goal, goal, goal.

Check, check, check.

Now I want to sleep at least 10 hours a night.

Say goodbye to clients, projects, goals, commitments.

“No,” the choir shouts. “Not you. Are you depressed?”

I am tired.

Someone else take charge.

Write the list.

Make the plans.


Keep track.

Clean up the messes.

I want to nap on my 1800's four-poster bed and wake up without an alarm clock.

I want to let…

The power has blown out.

Rain is pelting the roof, the windows, the driveway.

The new $12,000 generator sits sadly against the garage, not yet hooked up. The two propane gas tanks distance themselves from the generator. “Not yet, big boy,” they say.

The rain turns to sleet, angry and hard. A branch falls off the maple tree landing in a soggy spot in the yard.

The house is so quiet.

No furnace, no heat.

The pump that runs the septic system is out.

No humming from the refrigerator.

TV’s computers, iPads out of juice.

The utility outage app says…

Photo by Amy-Leigh Barnard on Unsplash

The drawing room of Fairchild Hall is packed. The couches have been moved against the walls. A makeshift stage is in the front of the room near the piano. Young women are sitting on the floor, guys are hanging by the three sets of French doors that open into the expansive room.

It’s a Thursday night in October and it is the annual Miss Fairchild contest, a talent pageant held every year in this oldest dormitory of a very old university.

I have been at college for six weeks, awed by the freedom, the conversations about issues like Vietnam, politics…

Lois Kelly

Most happy in the wilder-ness of people, ideas and nature. Joyfully rebellious when rested.

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