More sun-washed observations from the author of Blooming (1981) and Ivy Days (1984). Though Walden is Toth's ideal, she is temperamentally closer to Lake Woebegon, so the heartland verities she espouses will be soothing to more than Midwest, mid-life perspectives. These essays range from simple girl-talk (buying knee socks at 40, giving up garage sales) to personal pleasures (lakeside walks, picking raspberries, country smells) to serious but not deeply philosophical issues (parental listening skills, the meaning of a childhood Christmas), with a strong emphasis on her own changed needs: particular routines, different kinds of quiet, the uneasy balance of work and restful activities. Toth can be mildly humorous--on movie companions, Macdowell Colony cohorts, Minnesota weather (""I relish spring and fall, especially when, as Minnesotans say, they happen to come on a weekend""). And when she writes knowingly, in the title essay and one other, of the emotional dust a high-school reunion kicks up (people look for the person they thought you would become), she offers not just snappy opinions but also coping strategies for the wary and fainthearted (diet or not; choose clothes you like; decide beforehand on the parts of your life to report). Toth suggests that her previous books touched those who felt she captured, and to some degree celebrated, ordinary lives. These crisp and correct meanderings, sprinkled with sighs and a few penetrating glances, have that same persistently down-to-earth aspect.