Grace Notes
A hopeful newspaper column ~ by Natalie Costanza-Chavez
Columns About Hope in Tragedy

Awe is Too Easy
A well respected newspaper editor asked me why I hadn’t done a column about the Amish people forgiving the man who shot their children. Then my husband asked. Then a friend.
Betrayal
It is sudden and severe. Something, or someone, you have always counted on as solid, a sure-bet, an ally, an ace-in-the-hole, turns on you. Betrayal. You are incredulous. You are dumb-founded and teetery and dizzy. You are caught in a loop of replay, and what-if, and no-way all the while shaking your head and uttering, “I just can’t believe this.” You are in shock.
Making-Mind and Banana Cream Pie
I didn’t want to write this column. It’s been peeking around corners at me for weeks, as the rabbit brush turns to bloom, as mornings bring colder light, as fall begins. I’ve pushed it away, dreaded its re-approach, and pushed it away again.
Raggedy Ann and Helplessness
There was once a girl who, since the day of her birth, slept with a piece of cloth. Years later, she could be found hours past deep nightfall and asleep still holding it tight, twisting it around her fingers, kneading it.
Floating Photographs
He picks up the stack of photographs. They have been seared to each other – by heat, by water, by flames, by the compression of millions and millions of pounds of debris. They form a brick of paper, a thick cube of mass.
God Is At The London Zoo
Standing in my front yard under a motionless wind-chime, I hear only doves, a basketball bouncing many houses away, and the low grind of a recycle truck. A telephone rings and the air carries the sound – momentarily touching a string inside of me. It is almost hardwired. Ring-Ring. It doesn’t have to be our phone.
Waxed paper, Thread, and the Hard Job of Salvage
She had just lost a baby, but she lived still. Her house in a field of grass surrounded by the #### of split rail horse fence still stood. On the porch sat the front seat of a Dodge Dart: her bench.
Big Waves
On a cold mid-morning long ago, when the sea was a dark bloom, not bright or sun-glazed or seemingly awake, my sister and I made our way down to the wet sand. Towels off, we entered in a slow weave – in, out, in, out, – until finally our shoulders were afloat in the olive green water.