Currently viewing the tag: "Litchfield County Times"

My column for The L.C. about the bad (and good) of houseguests. Read it here:  Download PDF

July 3, 2009

Hike the mossy trails. … Up the road for blueberry picking. … We live in a real-life, year- round coffee-table book up here and that means one thing: House guests.

March 1, 2010


There is no way of knowing who passes through our hills and valleys on any given day. We’ve all experienced that brief euphoria of seeing a celebrity in our midst—not the bold-faced names who are our neighbors, but rather people like George Clooney, who was spotted one day eating lunch at the West Street Grill in Litchfield. Our restaurants, markets, and hotels are frequently lit up by the renowned, the famous and the notorious.

Less obvious are the remarkable people who visit more invisibly, without celebrity but bearing magic just the same. Those people whom you meet, and in an instant they instant inspire you and even change your life; those people who elevate you, and us, by their mere presence. Evalyn Wakhusama is one of those people.


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March 4, 2011

Shut the door! It’s freezing outside. I haven’t been warm since November – or was it October? – when I first removed my fur-lined boots from the closet floor and brushed the dust off them. My house is cold, my car is cold, my bathrobe is cold. I’m cold. It’s been winter forever. Icicles hang from the eaves and a few of them touch the ground. Some won’t even budge from the force of my husband Mark’s thirty-pound sledgehammer.

When I come inside, I leave my jacket on, and sometimes my hat. I’ve been rotating through the same fleece sweatpants, the same thermal turtleneck, for months. Right now, I don’t care about lipstick or Italian high heels. Or trousers that fit. I want to be warm. We are living on top of a glacier. Often, I build a fire. I go out to the porch to collect wood from the pile, and the logs give me splinters which I can’t feel until my hands thaw. I forgot again to wear gloves. I should have waited for Mark to get back up from the studio.

The cold has made me impatient. Somewhere under the permafrost, there is my sage plant, my raised vegetable beds, and my orange Princess tulips that will experience some kind of sensory memory and reappear on an April morning.By then, I might have forgotten this frigid winter. By then, the chill that has commandeered my bloodstream may have vanished. Man, I’m cold. The dog is cold. He won’t go outside, and when he does, he comes in and licks the pads of his paws, which must sting. Then, he sits on my lap, or on Mark’s, and the heat from his fur seeps through to our thighs. I assume that we heat him up, too, and everybody’s content.

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December 25, 2009

One of the most frequent subjects of discussion in Litchfield County is driving. Everyone does too much of it and most of us bemoan the endless hours logged behind the wheel. Add them up and the carbon footprint is not pretty. Exhibit A is my odometer.

I bought my Toyota Highlander in November 2006, and I have driven it 83,242 miles. That is over three times around the globe at the Equator. And even though it is a hybrid, which gives me a few extra miles per gallon and perhaps a slight moral sanctimony about it, that adds up to a lot of trips to school, piano, and my friend Sarah’s house. But this is not a piece about our area’s meta-dependence on fossil fuels.

Unless there is a bus from my house to LaBonne’s, I am resigned – call it the price of living in a quasi-rural area – to spending much of my day driving, and I try my best to limit those trips for my sake and the environment’s.  No, what is more worrisome is the proliferating number of dangers on these roads. You can barely travel from here to there without encountering at least one. And I am here to plead for more road awareness all around.  This means, in a nutshell, that we might all seriously consider slowing down. It’s getting scary out there.

Perils on the roads take many forms: moving targets, Mother Nature, the other guy. Add curving country roads to the mix, and the rush we all tend to be in as we travel on them. Then add checking for bars on your cellphone in our area known for spotty service, and kids in the back seat who need a snack or to simmer down. The result makes driving, already a statistically unfortunate activity, riskier still on these familiar roadways.

The moving targets are what most make me wipe the sweat off my brow. Animals on the road qualify, though we have all been taught to head straight for the suicidal squirrel rather than risk a deadlier collision with a tree or another car. But what terrifies me more than anything are walkers, particularly at nighttime, as well as runners, bicyclers, and people bending over their mailbox, hindquarters in the road, without a flashlight to warn traffic of their presence.



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