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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 […]

Something to Defend

Since I no longer have care of a cat or a ten-pound dog, I am able to consider the finer qualities of the raccoons that live in close proximity to me. I looked up one day recently and locked eyes with a raccoon not ten feet from me, poised in the branches of the venerable cherry tree in my backyard. The two […]

“I’m Dead”

I haven’t yet worked out what to do about the names of the dead in my address book. It’s disconcerting to have my eye fall on one of these names. “She’s gone,” I’ll think, and there is a little frisson of loss. If I were committed to electronic retrieval, I could delete that line, just wipe that person off the list. But […]

In a Liminal Space

  A few winters back, when it was icy, I complained to a grocery cashier about being tailgated on the way to the store. “I don’t want to drive that fast,” I said. “It’s dangerous on these roads.” “I’m with you,” she said. “I have to be careful. I have responsibilities—I’m a dog owner.” Her words warmed my heart. She described my […]