Well, perhaps it is because the weather has turned VERY COLD...down in the single digits...that Alfie felt compelled to take up knitting. Here is a partially-done (by me) sweater that—when my back was turned—he decided to work on. Thanks a lot, helpful puppy. (Okay, so it did look like a stick).

And here are two other photos.

Four summers ago I hired Jesse, then 14, to be a model for me, and his is the photograph on the cover of my book MESSENGER. And here is Jesse now(click photo to enlarge), four years later. He has just embarked on a trip that will take him six months: 300 miles on cross-country skis, then 200 miles by river in a handmade canoe, with hand-caved paddles, living off the land and using wilderness survival skills. Jesse is a remarkable young man whose dedication to preservation of the natural world is genuine and admirable.



I've been notified that my stage adaptation of "Gossamer" is one of three plays accepted for the NYU/Provincetown Players festival/workshop in June. That means that I'll be in New York in June working hard with a director, dramaturg, set designer, lighting designer, and actors, getting it into the final and best possible shape for actual production in the fall. This venture into theater has been—and is—exhilirating for me, and humbling as well, with the realization that the words, the sentences, are only a very small part of the whole.

Martin just came into my office to show me an article in this month's Smithsonian: "28 Places to See Before You Die" is the title. Leafing through quickly, I count 12 that I have seen...not a bad sum, I guess, and perhaps more than most people. But still a lot left! The one I yearn to see, still...and fear I won' Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, as we afficionados call it). I can't get anyone interested in going there with me. "That far to see a few toppled stone heads? Don't think so" is the usual reaction. But for some reason I find those massive stone heads and their murky history very haunting.

Of course I could go by myself. A few years ago I went to Sumatra by myself, just for the heck of it. And there is something to be said for being alone in a place. You notice more. You pay attention. You're not distracted by conversation.

Here is a Sumatran woman, just outside of Bukkitingi, the town in central Sumatra where I stayed in a small hotel for a week in 1996. The thing I most remember about that culture is this: that it is the only matrilineal culture in the world. Only women inherit and own property; men take their wives' names when they marry. And it is a very peaceful culture.

She looks, unsurprisingly, a little suspicious of me. But the people were friendly and kind, as a rule. I'll add one more photo, a cheerful boy. Hah. Wait till he grows up and finds out that his wife owns everything.