Photo by Jennifer Acker
January 11th, 2013 | 9:00am


We know that they are coming, but we don’t know when. The glass is smeared with brown dust, and some have complained. We may have been among the complainers.

The first sign is the hand mop dropped down from a higher floor. Dangles there, on the other side of the window pane, like a body part. Next a bucket tilted with supplies—more cloths, squeegees—and a cluster of bottles filled with fluid heavily knocking each other.

Photo by Lillian de Vries, from Flickr Creative Commons
January 10th, 2013 | 9:00am

A few minutes’ walk from our village—down one hill and up another—is an old convent that’s been converted into an albergo, a rustic inn.   Its name is Giardino della Luna, or Garden of the Moon—an oblique reference to Lunigiana, this hill-and-dale region at the northern tip of Tuscany, which is studded with little medieval villages and their churches, convents, and castles. 

Photo by John Menard, from Flickr Creative Commons
January 9th, 2013 | 9:00am

When we first moved to Ludington we spent days on the beach wandering along the sandy shores that stretched north to Manistee, south to Pentwater. Even in winter, when all the Fudgies (as tourists are known up north) had left town, having migrated to points south, we got out and hiked the hard-packed frozen beach, which provided a firm footing rather than the summer’s soft, fatiguing sand. But we had to cut against the strong gusts off Lake Michigan, and sometimes it was all we could do to walk upright, gripping our woolen caps over our red, nearly frostbitten ears. We spit grains of sand out and hunkered down, pushing against the wind.

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons, by Jeffrey Kontur
January 8th, 2013 | 9:00am

S. Tremaine Nelson first saw Don Share’s name not on the masthead of Poetry where Share is the Senior Editor, nor in the online annals of The Paris Review Daily where his poems have recently appeared, but on Twitter, where he once responded to one of Nelson’s favorite Stéphane Mallarmé quotes. After Share’s work was published in Issue No. 01 of The Common, Nelson reached out to him via email to discuss place, space, and the new sphere of internet communication.

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons user janwillemsen
January 7th, 2013 | 9:00am

Although I usually use this column to highlight exemplary writing about place, this month I’d like to bring attention to some of the many beautiful photo essays I’ve stumbled across in the past few months. With the popularity of slide shows on the web, it’s easy to take extraordinary photography for granted, but every once in a while, when I stop to think about what I am able witness on my laptop screen, I am blown away. An extreme example is Slate’s recent round-up of the year’s best images in astronomy. Here you’ll find photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter interspersed with earth-bound shots of the Northern Lights.