Portrait: Madeleine Little

We met five years ago, in high summer.  Gnats hummed thickly as the varsity rugby team wrapped up a preseason workout.  They were working the scrum machine in a full circuit across the pitch; two lines of men and women pummeling themselves into padded steel arms mounted on a barrel-shaped wheel base.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to play this sport until the coach suggested that the upperclassmen wrestle the freshmen recruits on the field.  

Little, as we all called her, was my partner for that exercise, and provided a thorough introduction to eating dirt.

Five years later, she continues to teach me.  I visited her at home before she moved to Italy, and we found common ground in art and heirlooms.