I used a little free time between book signings and a holiday trip west to go to Vermont this weekend. Every time I reach the southern border on I-91 where the hills that are unlike hills anywhere else begin, I remember believing that I could never live away from this state. Yet it's 10 years since I moved to Connecticut.

My mom and I spent an afternoon driving north from Putney to Bellows Falls and Weston. It was beautiful weather, a bright sky of fast moving clouds reflected on the snow and made me think about paint the way I used to all the time when I lived here. Connecticut has its own beauty, but there is something specific about the soft angles of Vermont landscapes that stirs me.

We spent the evening going through old little boxes of things belonging to my father, who I've had much cause to think of lately. I didn't know him well other than what I've been told, that he was an artist, he loved skiing and planes, and was an extremely gentle person.

I found many small clues to the details of his life; his Air Force ring, a carved pipe, pilot's license, foreign coins, appointment cards for radiation treatment, and pictures of my mother and me. Photo: the back of an emroidered jacket he commissioned to commemorate his time with the Air Force which I'm finally beginning to understand.