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Jennifer Duffield White Archive

Jennifer Duffield White

Riding Towards the Light on a Red Bicycle

October 4th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

MISSOULA, MT-

It’s the cliché metaphor of the last century: The light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe the guy who hammered and dynamited the railway path through the mountain knew just what it meant.

We think we know, after burying ourselves in whatever misery or work that elicits the oft-used metaphor.

But this isn’t about that. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

How a Girl and her Dog Drove from New York to Montana

August 29th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

MISSOULA, MT-

The barefoot summer is nearly over.

My soles are dirty, maybe permanently so; they are also thick and somewhat wiser than they were when this summer began 2,714 miles east of here.

There are certain things one learns (or doesn’t learn) when driving the highway between New York and Montana

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

The Barefoot Summer

July 7th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

It might be because this is my last summer in these mountains, for a while at least.

Or because my friend Amy is obsessed with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and their barefoot running.

Or because I just quit my job of nearly 10 years.

In any case, I’m conducting another experiment, exposing tender skin to the jagged edges of my world.

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

The Subtle Differences Between Bear Bones and Human Feet

May 1st, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

When the snow melts, things turn up with stories hidden in their decomposition.

A cigarette carton.

An abandoned navy blue sweatshirt.

A stray mitten.

And bones. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Love Song for Budding Colors and Bloody Paws

March 29th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

I shave my legs more often, dice green vegetables back into my diet, and find myself looking into the mirror in search of a favorable impression more often.

I let the v-lines of my shirt drop seductively low, unhindered by scarf or sweater.

And just now, as I was walking, I became aware of a sultry swing of the hips that has infiltrated my stride, stretching from swirled embroidery on jean pockets down to brown leather boots.

It is mating season. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Winter Blues and Darkness: Lost & Found

January 15th, 2009
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

I probably shouldn’t be writing this right now. It’s only January 15.

But I did make it through the darkest month of the year, so I’m going to risk it.

I’m feeling bold.

I have a theory; I have a plan.

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Slow Down with a Pictorial Journey through Fall Foliage

October 7th, 2008
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

Dear TNB Readers,

I took a walk and some photos for you the other day. Things have been a little off balance—my life, the news headlines, the private lives of those I know.

Mercury, you should know, is in retrograde.

In one sweeping 48-hour period, while swamped in deadlines, my car broke, my cell phone met an early death, my e-mail was spammed, the bike I was riding from the mechanic to the library got not one but two flats, and the library was closed.

I sat down in the grass, offered my palms to the sky and said, “Okay.”

The sky, it turns out, was a brilliant blue. It was a brilliant day. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

His Dog’s Name is Cleo, and That’s all I Know

September 21st, 2008
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

It’s Indian Summer in the mountains. The lake still holds the heat of a summer now passed, and I swim at sunset, knowing this may be one of the last moments where everything is deliriously in sync: the body floats, the horizon blooms, and I am nearly naked.

Snow is coming, even though I cannot smell it yet.

You dive in, worrying each time: You might not know this kind of happiness, this kind of wholeness, for another nine months.

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

When Tubing Down a Raging River in Montana, it is Best Not to Lose the Bride-to-Be; Or, Sometimes You’ve Gotta Have a Little Faith

August 3rd, 2008
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY- 

The plan might have been flawed from the start.

What you might have seen, if you were driving along Highway 84 in Montana that day was a Subaru Outback rental car so new it had no license plates, followed by a Toyota pickup circa 1982, so old it had no shocks and no fixture on which to hang the license plate.

Seven innertubes undulated in the wind, occasionally breaking free and flapping against the rusted side panels of the truck.

You might have been cursing their slow progress or witnessed the convoy pulled over on the side of the road, a huddle of muscled women trying to retie the load with a single, thin rope.

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Lessons in Flying, Men, and Writing, Taken From a Café in Spain and the Seat of a Bicycle

May 4th, 2008
by Jennifer Duffield White

MALLORCA, SPAIN-

A boy of eight or nine learns to dance with his kite.

He sets it down in the sand, turns, and scampers barefoot and shirtless along the two string lines, dipping low to scoop up the red handle and the blue handle.

He composes himself, steps back, hands at shoulder height, and jerks the handles down, setting flight to the orange trick kite.

Mediterranean blue backs up his Spanish skin.

I watch from a beachside café, my bike locked to a nearby post.

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

How to Find Your True Inner Desires, a New Wardrobe, and a Fit Body—All in the Name of People Watching

February 24th, 2008
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

1. People Watch in an Airport

Envy sits a shoeshine chair in the Louisville airport in the form of an attractive woman wearing a brown sweater, short dirty-blonde punky pigtails, and a cowboy hat.

The childish air I read in this woman is not immaturity; rather, it is a focused fascination with the world in front of her.

She smiles in fits, hikes up the pant legs of her jeans, admires the
cowboy boots she’s presented to the shoe-shine man, and cocks her head (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Letters to a Ghost, Who Could Be My Savior or Perhaps Just a Harbinger of My Demise

January 10th, 2008
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

I write a letter to Nikki, in my diary, each time the doctor takes a scalpel and carves out another mole.

He takes nipping strokes through my epidermis, dermis, and down to the fat, and drops the tissue—suspect for malignant melanoma—into a vile that’ll go to some lab in New Hampshire.

This week is the third surgery and sixth mole in eight months. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

When the Bliss Ends, What Do You Do?

November 28th, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

I should have known this might happen.

I should have known those blissful days might end and nameless evenings of camp fires and star gazing would give way to a time with harsher edges. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

A Girl’s Guide to Avoiding Housework, Aging, and Fear of Boredom

October 24th, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

You buy a house. Alone.

You paint your living room. Alone.

One Saturday in October, you force yourself to drive to the hardware store, buy a sander, a pry bar, a carpet knife, a nail set, three kinds of sandpaper, and a can of finish. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

A Travelogue in Shoes, Ferries, Dogs, and Muscular Difficulties

October 6th, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

This last week, I boarded six planes in seven days.

By the third aircraft, my hamstring had begun to seize.

The elderly couple next to me, well coiffed with neatly folded newspapers, tried to ignore my hand as I kneaded at the meat of my leg, where limb meets ass.

Touching yourself in public this way is, by my experience, a fine way to install an invisible shield around yourself. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

The Scandals of a Fairy Village on an Island in Maine

August 22nd, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

PORTLAND, ME-

One morning in Maine, two 30-something women and a hound-dog of a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix made their way along the circumference of Mackworth Island.

Carol is playing tour guide.

(more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

How I Got My Tattoo and Why It’s Way Better Than Yours

July 19th, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

Jenniferduffieldwhite19a_2

To properly tell this story, I must first make a few confessions:

1. I find most tattoos to be “velvet Jesus painting at the truck stop” type tacky.

2. I took the Grey’s Anatomy Quiz to see which character I was most similar to. The result: Cristina.

3. I have no sympathy for the man on Main Street whose every gesture bleeds blue ink in the faded scroll of a now-obsolete woman’s name.

4. I did not ask my mother to pack fiddleheads in my bag lunch for the 3rd-grade class trip to the Boston Museum of Science because I wanted a green vegetable. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

(I’m Not the Cutter Girl, Really) An Examination of Surburbia & Solitude

June 21st, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

(Because 11:59 and My Little Pony inspired nakedness this week … )

What happens when solitude is akin to home?

When the stitch of urban pavement, the zipper of metal automobiles is what needs conquering where my personal demons are concerned? (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

How to Find Twisted Logic Where Memory, Muscle, and Romance Overlap

June 3rd, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

Two hairpin turns.

A log.

A hop over the log.

I haven’t seen this trail in eight months.

I get winded where I shouldn’t.

My ass and my mountain bike seat are just starting to make friends again this season. (more…)


Jennifer Duffield White

Why I Want to Cause Hunger, or How I Sit in Slack-Jawed Wonder at One Writer in Particular

May 6th, 2007
by Jennifer Duffield White

SARANAC LAKE, NY-

I had the kind of week that splits you wide open.

That changes things.

That leaves you scraping through millions of particles of sand, hoping for the right words, right thoughts, to articulate themselves so you might be able to say what it is that just happened.

(more…)