Every time I sat down to read stories for this month’s column, I thought the theme was obvious. At the end of a long year filled with outrage and sadness, focusing on the lighthearted seemed like the way to go. But this winter has been strange. The days are warm and rainy, almost balmy, more …

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I spent a week in California last month, where it was easier than ever before to imagine the end of the world. Well, the end of human civilization, anyway. Driving through the Central Valley–which in my imagination has always been a wonderland of vibrant green crops and thriving livestock–was like driving into the wastelands of …

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In the summer, I crave stories about survival, especially about people and places in flux. Here, though the sun shines hot and bright through the day, thunderstorms roll in quickly to soak the ground and blow down trees, and there’s a cool, thick smell of wet in the mornings that dissipates by midday. I drive …

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One morning a few weeks ago, I looked out the kitchen window to find that the maple trees had begun to drop their keys. A thick blanket of bright green whirligigs covered the street and cars. They studded the grass and piled up in the gutter in mounds after a brief downpour swept through them. …

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A lifetime of long dreary winters has me programmed for snuggling up with thick novels. The longer I get to sit wrapped in a fleecy blanket, the better! But as this new and glorious neon-green spring chases away the last vestiges of grey skies and stinging sleet, my attention span grows shorter and my patience thins. Novels sit neglected …

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