Other Writing

Essays

Learning to Listen to the Land

When I was twenty-seven, I left the Northwest and moved to northern California, it was a good move, since I made it for both love and work, but for many years I missed the land I had been born into with a startling ferocity. I recognized that the Californian landscape was beautiful, with its redwood groves, oak-studded hills, and lush and tidy vineyards, but for me its loveliness lacked significance. I felt no real connection to that picture postcard prettiness, and I longed for the subtler, deeper meanings of the land I had known first. The land was eastern Washington,…

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Hoping for Boys

Before my son was born, I never really wanted to have a boy. It is only now that he is nearly a teenager, only now that I have been utterly in love with him for over a decade, that can I admit, with both embarrassment and astonishment, that before Garth was born, when I imagined raising a boy, it was with more resignation than pleasure. Even after two daughters, I was still secretly hoping that my third pregnancy would yield another girl. If the truth were known, I wasn’t much interested in maleness. My last intense involvement with men had…

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Nightmares

The child is afraid of the dark. She says she is afraid to go to sleep. She weeps. It is after her bedtime, of course, and after her younger sister’s, and the baby is fussing and needs to be put down, and you are tired yourself, and would like a few minutes of silence in which to attempt to retrieve your life from the clutches of motherhood before you, too, must go to bed. But the child is weeping, her shoulders shake, and you notice how large and frail and newly thin the shoulder blades are beneath her nightgown. She…

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The Whole Story

In the past six months, I’ve learned about scores of abortions. I’ve learned about legal abortions and illegal abortions. I’ve learned about abortions that were performed with respect and support, and others that were humiliating or even excruciating. I’ve learned about women who bought lottery tickets on their way to the abortion clinic in hopes that a winning number would allow them to cancel their procedures, and I’ve heard about women who went dancing the evening after their abortions. I have heard about women who felt empowered by the sense of control that being able to choose an abortion gave…

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