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Home 2018-01-19T11:38:59+00:00

The Crying Child in the Woods

The air is thick with moisture and the distant mountain in my view is a grayish purple. The silence of the morning is so still that I can hear subtle little sounds, like the baby bird chirping quietly in its nest in the rafters of the porch. I can hear things in the distance I would never normally hear.

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Humiliated for Dreaming

The annoying buzzer in my iPhone startles me, and my eyes open to the patio door overlooking the seven-story-high view from the classic Biltmore Hotel in Miami. As I look out over a mist-covered golf course, the birds are singing happy tunes and the gray billowing clouds are decorated with glowing pink edges as the sun emerges from the ocean. Shadows of palm trees seem to extend six times their length across the manicured lawn.

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The Warm Hug of Tradition

Shivering as I stepped out of my cozy bed this morning as the sun warmed my lids, I put on my warmest and oldest sweater, a cherished gift from my father at Christmas over 30 years ago. It’s a brown, hand-knitted sweater with a Native American pattern, and real antique buffalo nickels as buttons. It’s soft, it’s warm, it’s a little baggy now, and it’s one of the few things I’d grab if there was a fire, because it’s part of a family tradition. All the members of our family have two ... one brown, one blue. These will become family heirlooms because they were knitted by an artist, Charles Atwood King, in Upstate New York.

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The Art of Giving Paintings Away

Half-awake and walking out of my room to brew my coffee, I suddenly jumped at the sight of a frightening mask among the Halloween costumes flung over the back of the family room chairs. The kids, who attended a school party last night, need to tidy up a bit once they awaken. I think I jumped into the next room.

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Teaching 1 Million People to Paint

Dark-bottomed clouds fill the sky, ready to spill out overhead at any moment. How the wind moves clouds at such high speed is a mystery, with the weight of a water tower inside each cloud as they move gracefully across the sky like carefree dancing ballerinas.

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“Work” With Deep Meaning

Vibrant red-orange light was about ready to peek over the Atlantic Ocean. Giant granite rocks and rows of majestic pines were silhouetted against the golden sunrise while the upper part of the sky was a deep indigo blue with a single star glowing in the distance.

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Colorful Solitude

Silhouettes of pine trees glow against the deep indigo sky with a waning gibbous moon illuminating the scene. Hints of red are streaking across the nearby ocean as the glow of sunrise is about to blast its color into the atmosphere. Sounds of seagulls whining, waves crashing, and a foghorn seem unusually loud on this quiet Maine morning on Schoodic Point, the lesser-known and more spectacular branch of Acadia National Park.

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My Watering Eyes in Russia

As I opened the door, I was greeted by the nasty smell of black mold in the air, a smell so thick my eyes instantly started to water and I wanted to put my handkerchief over my nose. I flicked on the light, and the single fluorescent bulb dangling from a cord began to buzz loudly — and my suspicions of mold were confirmed visually. The once-white walls were black with mold, the paint peeling, and the plaster crumbling from moisture.

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A Russian Art Experience

A blanket of fog has muffled the sound of a distant foghorn here on the edge of the Baltic Sea. Though it’s early here and the sun is just rising in St. Petersburg, Russia, I just heard the clang of an old streetcar, the kind with wires over the street. Right outside my window at the hundred-year-old hotel I’m staying in is a five-story red tower with cream trim around the edges. It looks hundreds of years old, and its bell is clanging rambunctiously as if to shout that everyone should be awake by now.

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From Russia with Love

You may find this amusing, but I really wanted to get this out to you this week. It’s Sunday morning in Moscow, Russia. I woke up fairly early this morning in my undisclosed* hotel room near Red Square. I didn’t want to wake my wife by sitting on the edge of the bed tapping away at my keyboard, so I’m coming to you from the throne room with the door shut.

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Stormy Weather

Unless your home is one of those underground bunkers with no Internet or TV, you probably heard about our new soggy climate in Texas this past week. I feel so fortunate this morning to go out to the long, narrow porch on the back of the house to look out over my rough, unmowed backyard, which is out of control after massive amounts of rain and no dry moments to mow. The gnarled oaks and cedars, and the distant view of a purple hill, make up my view, and I am happy not to see a lake where the yard is supposed to be.

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On Being Accountable in the Eye of a Storm

Back in the 1980s, I thought a lot about my dream house. I had a vision of a Key West-style white clapboard house with a giant porch that wraps all the way around. Because I love the sound of rain and thunder, I dreamed of sitting on that porch during massive rainstorms. The idea of a porch on each side of the house was to get out of the blowing rain so I could sit outside during a storm and stay dry.

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Eric Rhoads
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