The Good Samaritan, In My Driveway

Amidst terrifying darkness, glimmering points of light feel like miracles. Once again we are reeling from a mass shooting; once again we search for answers; once again we keep going about our business, even as we know that many families are enduring what was, until a few days ago, unimaginable loss. News of the horrific event, and the ongoing aftermath, is full of questions that may never be answered about the mass murderer. But we have survivors’ stories and we … Read More

Having a Rocky 4th of July

Ever feel like you’re out of synch with mainstream culture? That you’re marching to the beat of a different drummer but — here’s the clincher—you’re also not sure you want to be in this Thoreauvian (a real word) situation? “Twas I, just a few evenings ago, on the 4th of July. OK, so this is a social, boisterous holiday. Parades, picnics, fireworks: people get together all over the country, holding paper plates of burgers and hot dogs and potato salad; … Read More

Degrees of Sorriness

I’m sorry this blog is late, but I’ve been kind of stuck on how one person’s “I’m sorry” can be practically a different species from someone else’s. There’s a whole spectrum of regret out there, especially this summer. Here’s a contrast for you. In this corner, we have the apology that stands up straight, looks you in the eye and owns the facts, while cringing inside from the pain of it all. In the other corner, we have the distant … Read More

Any June, Maybe Especially This One, is the Right Time for Haying

It is against the backdrop of unpredictable, terrible acts of violence in different parts of the world that I appreciate anew the peacefulness and splendor of haying in June. The two have nothing to do with one another, of course, and that’s just the point. Over the past half a century, a whole lot has changed—the way we live, the way we communicate with one another and also sometimes isolate ourselves, and the threats we either experience or imagine someone … Read More

Serendipity Strikes Again

Looking on the bright side, I have to start by saying that any annoyance caused by the delay in posting this blog has got to be nothing compared to the irritation experienced recently, especially in Chicago, by thousands of travellers in airports who had to wait for hours, and sometimes miss their flights, to go through security. Ok, so that’s probably not such a good comparison. And plus it goes without saying that there are way, way worse things than … Read More

Tell It Like It is, and I’ll Listen

“Is it LIT, Miss?” That’s how one girl at school greets me on a daily basis now, knowing that I’m trying to get a handle on some of the teenage lingo swirling around the hallways. She’s amused by the fact that I’m keen to learn how they say things, and why. Some sophomore boys, picking up on my interest, have taken it upon themselves to give me mini-lessons, stopping by my office between classes. This, needless to say, lifts the … Read More

Who’s Up, Who’s Down…and How Many Scientists Does It Take to Make a Chirp?

It was just Presidents’ Day; so let’s toss a coin in honor of Lincoln. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. What, you don’t like that? Anyone who follows all this presidential campaign stuff too closely runs the risk, it seems to me, of seeing most everything in terms of Winning and Losing. Fortunately, something else— a humble chirp with a link to the vast universe—just reminded us that, when it comes to really winning, teamwork is almost always the star … Read More

It Figures that I’m Here

For a girl who grew up without the regular back and forth to any house of worship, I sure do have a pretty good knack for getting really close to churches in my adult life. And the strange thing is, I haven’t even tried. It’s almost as if they found me. I’ve just started a new chapter of proximity, and this time around I’m struck by how the very different elements of tremendous weight and airy spirituality combine in the religious … Read More

Boyz to Men, All Around Us

Each time I dive in again here, I remind myself that my theme is contrasts…things that are next to each other but strikingly different. Life is a lot about merging, but those lines of demarcation are everywhere, too. Take, for example, the fact that we try to appreciate the little treasures that glimmer through our daily lives while not shrinking from the full force of tragedies outside of our own households. Sometimes, of course, it’s the opposite: our own lives … Read More

People Say the Darnedest Things

Following his first cross-country practice at his new school, my son had to report for an “imPACT” evaluation. The name comes from “Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing” and it’s now used widely in schools, apparently to see how our kids’ brains are doing. Gone are the days when only certain rough sports were considered the only culprits; it’s open season now for athletics in general. Apparently, the computerized Q and A session provides important “baseline” data—data we didn’t … Read More