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

His River, My Canal

The past week has demonstrated for me, as if I didn’t already know, that life can be all about natural flow, heading downriver freely and perhaps in tune with a larger power; or it can be about getting through a bunch of sometimes momentarily jarring locks on a canal that will, you hope, take you where you want to go: open water. Sure, it’s possible to imagine life without waterways at all – being firmly planted without any forward movement … Read More

Attention Must Be Paid…Or Maybe Not

Less is more…especially in June, a dazzling and also tumultuous month that might as well be called “Jewel of a Jumble.” Shifting to a watery image, because it’s so hot today, I would also offer another name: “A Time to Keep Paddling, A Time to (Mostly) Refrain from Plunging.”     At this everything-is-happening-at-once time of year, deciding what not to do a deep dive into is just as important as deciding how to keep swimming forward through all the … Read More

Like Michael Jackson, I “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”

We didn’t need any reminding over the past week that so much going on in the world, and even in our own communities, is out of our control. It’s overwhelming, it’s frustrating, and for so many reasons the future seems uncertain. When it comes to the course of our own lives, we have more control, although still far from complete mastery. Life becomes a cloth of many colors, some of which we can take pride in, others not so much. … 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

Darned if Science Always Looks on the Bright Side: Conflict as Opportunity

Last time I wrote about the pinnacle of the Christian calendar—Easter. This time I’m also heading into territory where I’m no expert—science. We all know that religion and that relentless quest for facts about Nature have been getting into skirmishes, sometimes all-out battles—for eons. These days, though, with the future of the Earth looking especially precarious, it feels more and more as if it’s “all faiths on deck” for our home planet. But it turns out science doesn’t speak with … Read More

Across the Fields on Easter Morning

One of my favorite highway signs has always been “Merge” because it’s usually wonderful when different lanes or people or traditions or what-have-you can flow together.     Off the road, I had an experience over the weekend that brought into the present elements of a past I never even knew. Since Easter is all about rejuvenation, I tried something new this time. Instead of dressing up and getting in the car with family members (one of whom would be … 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

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