Everyday Magic

The Tree: An Earth Memoir

The cottonwood tree’s roots are numerous, and its branches are wide, stretching over the expanse of our yard. The combination of root and branch are such that our backyard is never very sunny, nor does it grow much grass. The tree is the largest in our Chicago neighborhood and the focal point of our backyard. The tree is one of my first friends. It stands close to my bedroom window, and from a very young age I regard it as a benevolent sentinel. My earliest memories are of the sound of its rustling leaves keeping me company as I lie […]

The Mermaid’s Pool: A Water Memoir

The only place I don’t feel monstrous is in the water. I am nine years old. I am overweight, clumsy, and taunted mercilessly at school. I have recently developed asthma, and struggle to breathe. My classmates call me “Larda” or “The Congested Rat” – they are so very clever in their punishments. It is at this age that I am learning to shapeshift, learning to disappear. At home, I am the good girl – I keep my head down when my parents scream at me, I am quiet when my brother misbehaves. I am my mother’s best friend, listening to […]

The Blaze: A Fire Memoir

It is November 2016. The election has taken place, and we are gathering around a fire. We are in my backyard. It is early November and the air is cold. The flames grow strong our portable fire pit, and there is barely enough room for our group to gather around it in our postage stamp of a yard. Still, we gather. At first, there is silence. Despair hangs in the hair, as heavy and potent as the smoke scented with the incense and flower petals we sacrifice to the heat. Heat roils and curls off of the first embers as […]

The Wind: An Air Memoir

It is October of 2008. My lover has left me, I have started graduate school, and my mother has cancer. My entire world has been turned upside down in a matter of months. Three years prior, I had moved from Chicago to Pittsburgh to be with my lover, and though the relationship had the usual ups and downs of partnership, I had thought it was solid, and stable, and a forever thing – at that time, I still believed in forever things. In April 2008 he told me that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to remain in the relationship, […]

All the Green and Growing Things: Casting a Spell upon Myself

The first three months of 2017 have been full of change, disruption and flux for me. Like the seasonal shift from winter to spring, I have been working through the fits and starts of the new exchanging with the old, of life dancing with death. I have been sitting listlessly at home, waiting for the weather to shift, waiting for a physical shift in my environment and hopefully, a shift in my headspace. But which comes first, a shift in my head or a shift in my hands? A long time ago, when I was whining about a difficult situation, […]

The Gift Must Move

Potential Energy By Amoret BriarRose The seeds (sealed in a pocket squashed in a small pot with spongy, thirsty dirt and simple instructions for planting, a gesture, an idea of green) surprise themselves and sprout. Spring has come to Pittsburgh, and I think it is finally here to stay.  In my region, Spring and Winter often do a strange dance at this time of year, with neither really being comfortable leading. Since February, we have been having a few abnormally warm days followed by a solid block of frigid winter, which is then followed by warming, then more winter. It’s […]