This Time of Year, We Go Hot and Cold

If, like mine, your heart gets pounding faster with a stark contrast, then you must have already noticed that we’re in a fire and ice time of year. First, the ice. Asserting itself in streams that persist in running, the trying-to-be-firm stuff is always valiant in seeking to overtake the water.         But anyone with a dog around here already knows that the coveted (by dogs, mostly) daily walks have gotten a bit challenging in the past … Read More

Feeling For the Trees

Whenever I get tired of tracking my daily ups and downs, which is often, I find it refreshing to pay closer attention to the ups and downs of trees instead. Looking around outside with more vigor takes me out of my own limelight. It works well in November, or any other month for that matter. And that surprising storm we had last month sure did a number on many of our tall, usually very sturdy neighbors. It’s disconcerting when you … Read More

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

Different Beaches, Different Times, Different Lives

I’m knocking on the door of a significant birthday, so I’m going to gather my wits and make a modest proclamation. Just when you think you’ve got a few facts down, can recognize a thing or two with certainty, absolutely know how to define particular words…something will probably happen that will cause you to re-shuffle the deck. Not that I put myself in the camp of people playing with a full one or anything. But I venture to say that, … Read More

Emily Dickinson Returns, with a Rocker’s Mom

It’s Mother’s Day, but this will not a Mother’s Day blog; or at least, not one exactly. The culture that surrounds us spews out more than enough material on this tired theme. The person I have most on my mind never was a mother in the regular sense, although she left almost 1800 offspring that live on and on. She also spent a fair amount of time thinking about death, not a very celebratory subject, in the Hallmark sense anyway. … Read More

Short on Reading Time, Long on Pleasure

The way I see it, time is getting more and more precious, so I’m less and less embarrassed about reaching for the simplified version of something I still want to learn. If there’s a long and a short, I’ll often opt for the short, with clear conscience. The birds are twittering, the field is more soggy than snowy, Easter is coming, and days continue to be jam-packed: kind of like a bulging suitcase that you have to press down hard … Read More

Holding On For Dear Life, or Something Like It

When it comes to hangers-on, we often have radically different feelings. They can be completely exasperating, or just as completely inspiring. At this time of year, they can also be just plain confusing. Have you ever had houseguests who — this isn’t easy to say– overstayed their welcome? Friends who didn’t see the signs that, with so much else changing, it was time to let go and move on? Contrarily, have you ever been impressed, even awed, by a kind of stick-to-it-iveness … Read More

Looking at Ashes from Both Sides Now

Following right on the heels of Fat Tuesday as usual, another Ash Wednesday has come and gone. Learning still (and no doubt in perpetuity) about the rhythms of the Christian calendar, I have come to the conclusion that this is a not only a mysterious but also a downright weird time of year, and getting weirder too. The fact that life and death are more mixed up than usual is a big part of it, but there’s also a distinct … Read More

Questions About Meaning Even Before Religion Class Begins

Sometimes, when you’re solidly in the realm of Practicality, focused on getting things done in the real world and making sure others do the same, Philosophy intervenes and then you’re somewhere else entirely. One minute you’re thinking about sending an email before 10:15 a.m., for instance, and the next minute you’re wondering whether there is in fact a larger purpose– beyond all the tasks– that we’re trying to fulfill, and what might be the nature of that purpose, if it … Read More

He Packed a Punch

A whole lot has happened since Muhammad Ali left us. But since my particular mission here has always been illuminating and celebrating contrasts of all kinds — the “Look, there’s this but right next to it there’s that” moments — I’m sticking with the Greatest for a time. Soon after he died, a friend of mine, in a Facebook post, said she was surprised to learn that Ali had been such a humanitarian in addition to being a boxing champion. … Read More

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