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Ready to paddle my way to an unknown adventure

Ever since moving to upstate New York almost 13 years ago, I’ve wanted to try kayaking. Finally, earlier this year, I got my chance when we took Chiara’s Brownie Troop camping up near Lake George. Little Girl Scouts aside, it was so peaceful and lovely as I quietly paddled around in the sunshine, and I knew I wanted to do it again. And I secretly thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to have my own kayak? But how was that ever going to happen when I don’t know the first thing about kayaks? Read more

Manic Monday: Here, there, and everywhere

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity, and there’s no end in sight. But it’s all good. Busy, but good busy. By next week at this time, we will have passed a giant hurdle: Noah’s Eagle Scout project, leaving him with one last requirement to complete before he can officially sit for his Board of Review and achieve the rank of Eagle. This has been a long time coming, so it’s pretty exciting. Here’s what else is happening on this Manic Monday… Read more

The grass is always greener. Except when it’s not.

For the past few years, Dennis and I have seriously talked about wanting to move away from here. Here being New York’s Capital Region. The bloom is off the rose, I guess, or, as I always seem to say for no apparent reason, the rose is off the bloom. I think it has something to do with our weekly drives to church in downtown Albany every Sunday. Read more

Solitude and small-town friendliness in Manhattan

When I visited Manhattan a few weeks ago, I emerged from Penn Station, stepped out onto the street, took a big, deep breath of bus fumes mixed with subway steam mixed with street-cart hot dogs, and immediately texted Dennis this message: “I love New York.” And I do. Whenever I go back, I remember why and just how much, so much that Dennis and I have said more than once that if we had the money — and the ability to retire ever, which isn’t going to happen — Manhattan would be our retirement destination of choice. Read more

Cardinal Dolan on hurricane recovery: ‘People are heroic and generous’

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was on Fox News earlier today talking about the “heroic and generous” spirit of New Yorkers in the wake of the disaster caused by Hurricane Sandy. Click the link below to view the interview. (Embed code isn’t working. Sorry folks.)

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1936854689001/cardinal-dolan-on-finding-hope-amid-sandys-damage

Life in My 50s: Pousts take Manhattan

When my 50th birthday was approaching,Dennis suggested one of two trips — Maine or Manhattan. I was torn. I’ve never been to Maine and would have loved to settle into a seaside hotel for some peace and quiet. But Manhattan was beckoning. Not just the usual Manhattan, where I run down for a work meeting or Girl Scout event or holiday dinner, but the Manhattan of my 20s and early 30s, the Manhattan that made this suburban girl fall in love with New York City. Read more

Remembering like it was yesterday

Here’s the Life Lines column I wrote just about 11 years ago, in the days following 9/11. So much has changed since that horrible morning, and yet, for me, this column still resonates with things that feel very much in tune with our world today. Here’s wishing all of you, all of us a future of peace — peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, peace on our planet.

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Noah plopped down on the floor next to me the other day and asked me to read one of his favorite books, “There’s an Alligator Under My Bed,” by Mercer Mayer. As we turned the pages and followed the little boy on his quest to capture the elusive alligator that kept him up at night, I had an eerie feeling that the story was an allegory for what I’d been feeling since that terrible morning a few days before.

The night after the World Trade Center attack, I lay awake in my bed staring at the ceiling, filled with a sense of dread that I could not quite put my finger on. I was scared, but not by the images of horror that had flashed before my eyes for hours that day. Instead my fears seemed frivolous, not at all unlike the little boy’s alligator: Had I left the dryer on in the basement? Was the window over the kitchen sink still open? Were the kids’ pajamas warm enough? I felt a childlike fear of the dark, of things no one else can see, things we parents usually try to hush with a goodnight kiss and a night-light.

When morning finally arrived, I realized that my sleeplessness wasn’t really about what might go wrong within my four walls. It was about what had gone wrong in our world. Long after I had wiped away the tears of sadness that fell as I watched the World Trade Center collapse over and over again on television’s seemingly endless loop of horror, I fought back tears of a different kind — as I rocked Olivia to sleep for her nap, as I kissed Noah good-bye at preschool, as I hugged my husband, Dennis, at the end of a long day. Those were tears borne of fear, tears for tomorrow, tears for a world we don’t yet know. And I didn’t like how they felt.

Despite the fact that I have spent almost two years writing a book on how to help children deal with grief, the events of the past weeks left me in the unusual position of struggling for words. On the day of the attack, when Noah, asked if “bad people” might knock down our house, I reassured him that they would not. When he made a logical leap – at least for a 4-year-old – and worried that they might knock down his grandmother’s apartment building in New York City, I told him he was safe, that no one was going to hurt him or the people he loved. All the while I found myself wondering if I was telling him a lie.

But that kind of thinking leads to hopelessness, and when we lose hope, we leave a void just waiting to be filled by fear and despair and alligators of every kind. Through stories on television and in newspapers, I had seen unbelievable hopefulness in the face of utter destruction. How could I not believe in the power of the human spirit and the ultimate goodness of humanity and a better world for our children?

That night, as a soft rain fell, our house seemed wrapped in a comforting quiet that was interrupted only by the reassuring hum of the dishwasher. With Noah and Olivia asleep in their rooms, I lay down and looked up. For the first time in days I didn’t notice the enveloping darkness but saw instead the tiny glowing stars that dot our bedroom ceiling, a “gift” left behind by the previous owners. As I finally closed my eyes to sleep, I whispered a prayer of hope, a prayer for a world where the only thing our children have to fear are the imaginary monsters hiding under their beds.

Copyright 2001, Mary DeTurris Poust

9/11: A look back 10 years later

Here’s the Life Lines column I wrote 10 years ago, in the days following 9/11. So much has changed in the past decade. Our world has changed. My family has changed. And yet, for me, this column still resonates with things that feel very much in tune with our world right now. Here’s wishing all of you, all of us a future of peace — peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, peace on our planet.

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Noah plopped down on the floor next to me the other day and asked me to read one of his favorite books, “There’s an Alligator Under My Bed,” by Mercer Mayer. As we turned the pages and followed the little boy on his quest to capture the elusive alligator that kept him up at night, I had an eerie feeling that the story was an allegory for what I’d been feeling since that terrible morning a few days before.

The night after the World Trade Center attack, I lay awake in my bed staring at the ceiling, filled with a sense of dread that I could not quite put my finger on. I was scared, but not by the images of horror that had flashed before my eyes for hours that day. Instead my fears seemed frivolous, not at all unlike the little boy’s alligator: Had I left the dryer on in the basement? Was the window over the kitchen sink still open? Were the kids’ pajamas warm enough? I felt a childlike fear of the dark, of things no one else can see, things we parents usually try to hush with a goodnight kiss and a night-light.

When morning finally arrived, I realized that my sleeplessness wasn’t really about what might go wrong within my four walls. It was about what had gone wrong in our world. Long after I had wiped away the tears of sadness that fell as I watched the World Trade Center collapse over and over again on television’s seemingly endless loop of horror, I fought back tears of a different kind — as I rocked Olivia to sleep for her nap, as I kissed Noah good-bye at preschool, as I hugged my husband, Dennis, at the end of a long day. Those were tears borne of fear, tears for tomorrow, tears for a world we don’t yet know. And I didn’t like how they felt.

Despite the fact that I have spent almost two years writing a book on how to help children deal with grief, the events of the past weeks left me in the unusual position of struggling for words. On the day of the attack, when Noah, asked if “bad people” might knock down our house, I reassured him that they would not. When he made a logical leap – at least for a 4-year-old – and worried that they might knock down his grandmother’s apartment building in New York City, I told him he was safe, that no one was going to hurt him or the people he loved. All the while I found myself wondering if I was telling him a lie.

But that kind of thinking leads to hopelessness, and when we lose hope, we leave a void just waiting to be filled by fear and despair and alligators of every kind. Through stories on television and in newspapers, I had seen unbelievable hopefulness in the face of utter destruction. How could I not believe in the power of the human spirit and the ultimate goodness of humanity and a better world for our children?

That night, as a soft rain fell, our house seemed wrapped in a comforting quiet that was interrupted only by the reassuring hum of the dishwasher. With Noah and Olivia asleep in their rooms, I lay down and looked up. For the first time in days I didn’t notice the enveloping darkness but saw instead the tiny glowing stars that dot our bedroom ceiling, a “gift” left behind by the previous owners. As I finally closed my eyes to sleep, I whispered a prayer of hope, a prayer for a world where the only thing our children have to fear are the imaginary monsters hiding under their beds.

Copyright 2001, Mary DeTurris Poust

Summer vacation. It’s official now.


We kicked off summer officially today, with a short hike around Beaver Trail at Five Rivers Environmental Center and a picnic lunch. I thought that meant we could check two things off our Beach Bucket List (hiking and picnic), but I was informed that today’s outing doesn’t count because Dennis wasn’t with us.

I never tire of visiting Five Rivers, which is just a few miles from our house. Come along for a hike and see what’s out there…

Obviously the trails were not icy, despite what the warning sign says. Muddy, yes. Icy, no.


The pond was full and the waterfall rushing, thanks to the recent rains.


Checking out the water chestnut that is taking over the pond, and hoping to spy a frog or turtle.


If you look closely, you can see the wings in motion on this bright blue darning needle. Is it a darning needle or a dragon fly? I’m going with the former.


My favorite view, no matter what the season.


Seeing the world upside down.


Up through the trees.

Half the trail was closed due to flooding. We circled back around and came at it from the other direction.


And we were glad we did because we spotted this little guy from the bridge. A much bigger version was too deep in the water to capture in a photo.


A mama turkey and three babies. She let us get so close, unnervingly close.


Chiara in what has been labeled the “sleeping chair,” courtesy of her godfather on a previous visit. I guess the chair only works on him.


Lily pond.


It’s not easy being green.