Archive by Author

Reciprocity

At the height of the pandemic, I was adopted by a cat—a blue-eyed, probably part-Siamese female who had been left with my next-door neighbor. The cat’s name was Marie, but this didn’t seem to suit her, so I began calling her Mira—which is close in sound but quite different in association. Mira is the name of one of India’s poet-saints, a sixteenth-century […]

The Non Sequitur

A few weeks ago yet another big man was being accused of sexual harassment, and I was talking this over with some old friends—“old” in two ways: women I’ve known a while and also women, like me, of a certain age. “What he did was nothing,” one of these women said. “Anybody our age who has ever had a job has dealt […]

Cross the Line

It’s been a hard month. I’m not entirely sure why. A few weeks into it, snow fell, and I let that cold white blanket covering the ground keep me in my house for maybe four days. I had heat. I had food. I had work and entertainment. But I felt as if I were allowing myself to succumb, to lie down in […]

The Dark and the Light

Last week, I was receiving strong glimpses of my mind in vivid shutter frames. A man is sprawled out on a chair in front of what I am told is U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, his feet resting on her papers, his face set in bemused contempt. I think, “Kill him!” An older woman shows up in this TV […]

Christmas

I do like Christmastime, and I hate to admit it, but I think part of the reason has to do with the lights, the sparkle, the surfeit of cookies and candy, and all those wrapped presents. My favorite image from Christmas is the tree with presents around it. My experience has almost always been that the gifts themselves are bittersweet—not quite right, […]

A Gift from Dad

It can be quite edifying to glimpse oneself from another’s perspective. I don’t often receive such bounty, and when it comes, it may take me some time to welcome it. Today, I remembered my final conversation with my father, our last one-on-one exchange, which took place almost thirty years ago. This was in 1991, a few months after my father had open-heart […]

Rite of Passage

A few months back, I heard inside my mind my teacher’s voice saying, “It’s not the way you think it is.” That’s all. I don’t know what “it” refers to, and so I have no idea how I am thinking about “it.” What I do know is that something I’m depending on to be a certain way is not that way. Since […]

My Friend, the Fly

“Can you even trust a person who has a pet fly?” one of my friends commented after the vice-presidential debate last week. She was thinking about the fly that sat forever in the vice president’s snowy white hair. I had a lot of bones to pick with Mike Pence regarding that debate, but the fly was not one of them. I wrote […]

Pitru Paksha

Pitru Paksha, the Hindus’ “time of the ancestors” was finished last week, but I feel that something has started for me that won’t ever end. That sounds ominous, and I don’t mean it that way. It was quite lovely to chant for people I care about who have passed on—the ancestors. For the final chant, I wore a tiny silk scarf that […]

Henry Tunes Turns Ninety!

In the Art of the Mini Memoir class that I used teach in the local senior center, I would always bring cookies the first week. Then I’d ask for volunteers to bring cookies in the three weeks that followed. I’ll never forget the class where the first volunteer was a man I knew to be in his eighties. “But not cookies,” he […]