Cul-de-sacs (French, literally the bottom of the bag) feature prominently in housing developments, where they establish the quiet loop of a dead-end street. A city’s blind alleys are also cul-de-sacs. Similarly, a cul-desac may be a blind lead in a cave, a passage that has but one entrance and exit. The term also refers to a swallowhole down which a stream once disappeared, but which is now abandoned and partially filled in. A culde-sac is both a turn-around and a turn-away. A tranquil if limited space. The pause before the return.

Donna Seaman