Nature is simple and complicated, orderly and messy, quiet and busy. Whether hiking a New England trail or roaming the Florida coastline, I learn from nature about the power of peace and inner calm.

Meet today’s teacher.

Hermit crabs are more closely related to squat lobsters and porcelain crabs than they are to true crabs.

This agile little guy caught my eye on the side of the road. Utterly crabtivating.


The tip of the hermit crab’s abdomen is adapted to clasp strongly onto the snail shell.


The hermit crab’s back half is vulnerable to predators. But it’s clever enough to use a tough ready-made shell to protect its softer parts.

This critter found an unoccupied sea snail shell and reversed into it. I think there might be a lesson here.  Don’t get stuck in old habits. Find a new place, make a new home, move on.

As a hermit crab grows, he is forced to relocate to a larger empty shell. The crab is particularly vulnerable during that transition between shells.  I notice that as I grow age, I, too, change “shells” and surroundings.  Reminds me of one of my favorite books by Eric Carle.


Isn’t it wondrous to see the “impossible” take place?



It is good for the soul to be thus lifted out of and away from all the mean and petty detail of life, to escape from the wearing friction of the selfish every-day life, and to be alone with the noblest natural features—the wide sky, the broad and health-giving ocean, the immovable rock, so firmly rooted that through countless generations the Atlantic surges have vainly thundered against it.  -Richard Lovett

The newest addition to my kitchen is neither noble nor natural. But it is simple and quiet, and, like Nature, definitely good for the soul.


The French press makes a palmary pot of coffee.  Plus there’s something arrestingly meditative about the slow-brew process.  An aside about taste: it’s a very personal thing, so if you absolutely love those iconic pods, please don’t let me dissuade you but…..okay, please let me dissuade you.  There is better coffee out there.

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.  -Anais Nin

Consider the power of peace and inner calm. Find your joy.

Toni 1/16/18























Janos and me. My first attempt at…my memoir in 420 characters and nine line bits. DRAFT


The last time I played any Faure I was 15.

With the high fi and my Janos Starker recording at my left,

I’d play my cello for a few measures, lift the needle, scratch it back,

and play the measures again.

At my audition, the judges said my interpretation was (strangely) remarkable,

but at All State I was way out-classed:

other cellists played Bach at breaks,

but me and the trombone player

made out in the warm up room.


(I found the old record. No wonder I had such a soaring style and melting tone!)