Morning on Cobscook Bay

Chronicles of a Wandering Marshmellow, Poetry

Low tide renders towering conifers and the rocky shoreline

as an oil painting on the still water

Crabs scuttle over rust colored seaweed

that pops in the morning sun

Snow Day


On snowy nights as a child I would flick on the backyard light and judge the snow coming down, along with the amount that had accumulated on the deck. I would go to bed hoping with all my might that in the morning the radio would announce that our school was closed. Usually my hopes were dashed and I would trundle off to school, jealous of those who did not share my fate.

The days of children waiting with bated breathe by the radio to hear if their school is closed are gone. Now the phone rings shortly before six in the morning, or even the night before, and the cheery prerecorded voice of the superintendent comes on telling us that schools are closed due to inclement weather or the chance of inclement weather. A friend, and fellow stay-at-home-dad, who lives in Bozeman, Montana, asked recently what constituted a snow day in Vermont. As near as I can tell, I told him, it’s a crap shoot. Of course I am sure it is more than that, some complicated formula. I called the cheery-voiced superintendent to ask but I never heard back from her. In Montana, my friend told me, if the buses start and the roads are passable there is school. They’ve had a few 9am starts because it was twenty below, but other than that no one can seem to remember when the last full snow day was. Some time in the 90’s is the best guess.

From journal entries I know that I’ve met snow days as an adult with dread and anxiety because I had other plans for the day. That is parenthood in a nutshellmake a plan and watch it fall apart for any number of reasons. I always assume I will have more time to write on snow days because the boys will sleep in and there will be no rush to get them off to school, but the boys never seem to sleep in on snow days. It is as if they have a sixth sense and are up and out the door at first light or one of them is up and pacing waiting for the other to wake up so that they can go out and play. On school days I have to drive them out of bed with my bad singing.

Despite my anxiety the snow days always seem to turn out to be great funas days usually do when you toss out your preconceived ideas and let the day unfold organically. The backyard and surrounding acreage are a blank canvas and the day follows its own special rhythmoutside at first light,t then back inside to dry out and warm up. Outside again a few hours later, and if it all works out, perhaps a third time when Mom gets home. When you ride the coattails of your children’s joy and wonderment, you’ll be hard pressed to hang onto the dour feelings we conjure up so easily as adults.

A Moment of Despair


The waves come slowly but quickly gain strength and power. I know what is coming but I am powerless to move. When the largest crashes over me I am held down, gasping for air and wondering if I will survive.

Outward appearances and surface assumptions mask the dark ocean of despair and self-loathing that holds me under in the depths of depression. Instead, many see the blessed life I am fully aware that I have. A beautiful supportive wife and two healthy boys, I am in good health and doing what God has called me to do. It is my family that keeps me fighting for my life. I will not allow the boys to grow up fatherless. But can I survive once they are grown? Focus on the now, you just need to make it through today, I tell myself. Start again tomorrow. Tomorrow could be better. Each day could be better. My family needs me.

I’ve seen death from many angles, and know firsthand the hole and pain it leaves. I have come to understand why people choose suicide but I still feel it is selfish. But right now, I’m not sure how much more I can take. There is relief in the thought, of the torture finally ending, but also the terror of leaving my family. I break into sobs; an awkward sputtering sound escapes my lips. For even here, alone, I hold back. The tears stream down my face but the release is not a complete one.

I spend the rest of the day in a painful funk, doing my best to mask my turmoil from the world. This leaves me exhausted, but one step closer to the end of the day. Then I can escape into my book and then into sleep. With this, there is the promise that tomorrow just might be betterif only a little.

Grand ambitions & wayward dreams

Essay, The Charlotte News

This may not happen to all stay-at-home-parents, but for me, by the time August rolls around my goose is cooked. I have run out of ideas and the energy to get the kids out of the house for an adventure. The boys seem to think that bickering and fighting is a great way to pass the waning days of summer while I stare at the calendar like a kid waiting for his birthday, fantasizing about all that I am going to get done and be able to do once the boys are in school. I know this will be the case because during those long last weeks the days are never ending, just like when I was a kid in school staring out the window of a stuffy classroom.

Before the school year started I made a list of goals, like put the laundry away right away, keep up with the clutter that materializes on every flat surface, have dinner prepped before the boys get home, go paddle boarding, exercise every day. I saw myself doing yoga in a clutter-free house, because the kids were out of it all day and I had all the time in the world.

We are now three weeks into the school year, and my grand ambitions are mostly wayward dreams–even though I’ve been writing out a list of daily tasks each morning and I tell myself I am going to stay focused and get these things done. I do fairly well until high noon and then, due to what is clearly a time paradox which disrupts the space-time continuum, time speeds up and I turn around to see that I need to meet the kids at the bus stop soon. My list is only half finished. I just don’t know where I went wrong. But it is such a nice day outside maybe I’ll go out and lie in the hammock for a bit. I need to take some time for myself anyway. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself; now, where did I hide those bonbons?