10 Things You Use in Europe, But Not in the States


1.  Umbrellas, for miles rather than the time it takes to get the 10 feet from house to car.

2.  Those canvas tote bags you get when you donate to non-profits.

3.  Cobblers. (The person, not the pie.)

4.  A scarf when the temperature gets down to 60 degrees.

5.  Google Translate.

6.  Your national i.d. number, for everything from ordering movie tickets online to picking up your mail at the post office.

7. Bee’s-waxed cheese wrap for the sheep’s cheese you get every couple of days from the store that only sells cheese.

8.  The kitchen counter for your eggs, rather than the refrigerator.

9.  An avocado “for today” that hasn’t been fondled by a hundred people.

10.   A clothes line.

What felt foreign not seems familiar. And now, just to keep us on our toes, we’ll  reverse our locale for a few weeks.



Apropos of the First Day of School…


IMG_6633 - Version 2Stepping Off

Always, in the big woods, when you leave familiar ground

and step off alone into a new place there will be,

along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement

a little nagging of dread.

It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and

it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.

What you are doing is exploring.

You are undertaking the first experience, not of the place,

but of yourself in that place.

It is an experience of our essential loneliness;

for nobody can discover the world for anybody else.

It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that

it becomes a common ground and a common bond, and

we cease to be alone.


-Wendell Berry

The One-Inch Journey