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Letter from the Editor

Start with a little resveratrol, add tryptophane …

My mother was not always right.         But in hitting the nail on the head, she had far better accuracy than I credited.     A woman who believed she could do anything, she invested even more of her capital in cooking than she did in looking good. And she looked very, very good.     The way to a man’s heart is his stomach, she advised.     Ohhh mother! I scoffed, for that was back in the day when I believed love sought you for yourself alone.

Six more weeks of winter? Let it snow.

At first it shone fresh in memory, the gold filigree earring formed on a redbud leaf bought for me by my husband on a book tour visit to Nebraska’s Arbor Day Farm, where good practical environmentalism pairs abundantly with good food. But in the cold days and weeks after I lost it — after I’d searched coat collars, scarves, carpets and car crannies —it faded into forgetfulness.

Friends and foes, we’ve got a lot to thank him for

The Tax Man. That’s the tag the incoming Republican establishment wants to pin on the back of the governor no more as he walks out the door.     Former Gov. Martin O’Malley did indeed oversee hikes in the sales tax, the gas tax and taxes on corporations and big earners.       But before all we remember of Martin O’Malley is the epithet of the victors, I want to summon a few other images.

From Jim Toomey to Charlie Hebdo, we need their levity

In any of 150 newspapers around the world — including the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun — you can bump into Jim Toomey any day of the week.     But Bay Weekly kept the world-famous creator of Sherman’s Lagoon waiting in line.     What kind of way is that to treat a neighbor?     Toomey, who draws Sherman the shark and his aquatic friends from his West Annapolis home, makes a good story any week of the year. But I wanted the perfect week.

Birds and squirrels, horses and riders

I took Bay Weekly at its word.         “The best way to start learning about birds is to put up a feeder,” advised international birder Colin Rees, conveyed in Dotty Doherty’s Dec. 4 story Winter Is for the Birds. Today I’m reaping the rewards of refilling and hanging my feeders to celebrate Christmas for the birds.

2015 gives us all we get: the gift of time

Time has been short as the old year withered and died. Now 2015 stretches before us in vast, unbroken possibility.     Then felt I like some watcher of the skies     when a new planet swims into his ken;     Or like stout Cortex when with eagle eyes     He star’d at the Pacific — and all his men     Look’d at each other with a wild surmise …
The light is thin this time of year. But the sun shines bright enough on its rising and falling arc to gild everything in its path: windows, tree trunks, the marsala leaves of oaks, clouds and the heavens. That arc is brief, however, as we inch toward the darkest day of the year. On winter solstice, December 21, the sun gives us only nine hours and 28 minutes of light.

Many hearts out of hiding

“My heart in hiding. Stirred for a bird, — the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!” wrote poet Gerard Manley Hopkins of a hawk called the windhover.     In the week since I wrote in Farewell to My Dog Moe, I’ve learned that dogs release many a heart from hiding. Your letters brought me joy, comfort and consolation by introducing me to your dogs, echoing my loss and sharing the stretch to find words for a relationship so intimately wordless. Here is what you’ve said, from far and wide:

November 12, 2005 – November 29, 2014

Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light, to guard, to rule and guide.     I never expected the guardian angel of grade school prayer to be corporeal. Certainly not a dog.

That’s what all these Odd Fellows are up to

There are worse things to keep bumping into, like the doorframe that bruises your toe. The good works of civic organizations were my run-in. They cornered me at every turn, surrounding me, until I had no alternative. This week’s feature story — Get Involved: Local Civic Groups Help Make the World a Better Place — is the result of those confrontations.     Lions, Moose and Elks: What are all these Odd Fellows up to? That was my question.