A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse

Age often turns fire into placidity. Lytton Strachey, in his incisive portrait of Florence Nightingale, writes of her declining years: Destiny, having waited very patiently, played a queer trick on Miss Nightingale. The benevolence and public spirit of that long…

Lone Skier in Glacier Gorge

All afternoon blown snow has screamed off the summits into sky’s high-altitude cobalt. Even now as the sun dips westerly and ice crags burn gold at the edges those snow-shapes keep hurling up, dervishing so wildly away over iron peaks…

On Dry Hill

If you were to suggest to the fishermen and carpenters who live down the street from John Hay that he is one of the great artists and original thinkers of the latter part of the twentieth century, you could forgive…


March progresses toward its end, gradually adding to the population. Dark-headed, deep-colored male robins tug at worms on the lawn. Red-winged blackbirds sail low over marshes, or take stations by the edge of a pond, with needy cries. The purple…

A Letter from Robert Finch

I want to say a few words about John Hay’s sentences, for I have always felt that his genuine claim to originality is as a stylist, not a thinker. Yet remarkably little has been said or written about his use…

The Last Day in October

The night, after a deceptively bright and soothing day, seems suddenly withdrawn. The wind has a hard feel to it, as if a northern authority had come to stay. Heavy rolls of cumulus clouds hang in the sky when morning…

On Living In-Between

A few years ago, my wife and I spent two off-seasons living in a house on the edge of land and sea. It was the type of house all of us have dreamed of living in, not particularly large or…

Whan That Aprill

Noah has promised to help bury the Olcotts first thing in the morning. As he waits in the kitchen for Arthur, he watches Alice at the sink. She pours a brown paper bag of strawberries into a copper colander. One…