Sergei Avdeev, Evening Outdoors, 2014

The light had already been fading for a while that afternoon as we flung ourselves over snow drifts and up tall mountains of shoveled snow and along the garage rooftops which we could reach because the snow was so high. What had begun as a straightforward afternoon of play in the weak light after school … Continue reading Sergei Avdeev, Evening Outdoors, 2014

Cynthia W. Iliff, Untitled (Men Playing Cards), 1942

I wonder how long I waited there, as the clouds slowly moved in and obscured the sky, first dropping scattered raindrops and then eventually pelting the world with hail. I had gotten so used to the briny smell of the sea that I was surprised to notice it that morning. Sloshing and crashing against the … Continue reading Cynthia W. Iliff, Untitled (Men Playing Cards), 1942

Wouter Johannes van Troostwijk, The Raampoort in Amsterdam, 1809

After a night of half sleep in damp straw, I sneak out of the falling-down barn into the thick, white air. My feet are still wet and cold. My back still aches. But I barely feel these discomforts anymore. They are no more than nagging. What I can't ignore—what flashes bright and insistently at the … Continue reading Wouter Johannes van Troostwijk, The Raampoort in Amsterdam, 1809

Dorothea Lange, End of an Era: Funeral Cortege in a Small Valley Town, California, 1938

Uncle Bob was the last of the elder generation to go. It started when my great-aunt Louisa passed two years ago. A steady stream of the older generation falling away: Uncle Larry and Aunt Kay died within days of each other in their home, too weak to tolerate the flu, the doc said. My mother … Continue reading Dorothea Lange, End of an Era: Funeral Cortege in a Small Valley Town, California, 1938

Pyotr Konchalovsky, First Snow. Blue Dacha, 1938

My parents' country house was built nearly a century ago, and though it's a country house, it has many of the trappings of an upscale city dwelling. There are formal spaces with slick, polished wood floors, large glass windows with delicate carving around the moldings, and rich fabrics with tulips and rosettes adorning the floors … Continue reading Pyotr Konchalovsky, First Snow. Blue Dacha, 1938

Pieter Breugel the Elder, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565

Everyone told her it would be cold, but she thought perhaps the snow and ice might wait a while. At least give her a chance to settle in before greeting her. But that, of course, was not to be. Their caravan had been on the move for months now, and she felt that she had … Continue reading Pieter Breugel the Elder, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, 1565