Crickets: A Love Song to Late Summer

In April, I promised myself that I would savor the summer day by day, with the mantra: “Be here now.” But now that September is upon us, the fall field crickets (gryllus pennsyslvanicus) are calling time and, as usual, they’ve triggered the onset of my annual autumnal melancholy. Winter is coming. Woe is me. On…

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Ode to Nurses ca. 1995

This essay appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine a few decades ago. I thought it deserved a reprise this May, when big companies spend millions on smarmy tributes to nurses.    When I drive past the hospital where my daughter was born, I look up to the 11th floor and wonder if the new moms…

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SNOWMAGGEDON!! January 31, 2022 It got very quiet that night. Kind of like Christmas Eve, if a little less twinkly. The supermarket parking lots were empty. It was so still that I could hear the click and buzz of streetlights going red to green. Every passing car was an event. It was the overture to…

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Candle vs Darkness

According to the calendar, winter doesn’t begin until the solstice, December 21, but everyone knows it’s been underway since November, when the hours of darkness began to edge out the hours of light. ‘Tis the season of sad, sadder, saddest — no clinical diagnosis of Seasonal Affect Disorder necessary. Of course, it’s worse this year…

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Unmasked. Maybe.

Once upon a time, in March 2020, I taped a paper mask to the inside of my front door as a public health and safety reminder. But because I tend to leave the house without at least one of the essentials (keys, cell phone, leash, poop bags for Toby, the Terrier mix), I wrote “Mask?”…

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More Mass Shootings: Between Fury and Despair

I wrote my first mass-shooting column 22 years ago, after two students at Columbine High School murdered 13 of their classmates and then turned the guns on themselves. That happened in Littleton, Colorado, a few miles from where I grew up. I addressed that piece to reassure my daughter, who was then in middle school…

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Inauguration Meditation

January 15, 2017. It was a few days before the Trump inauguration and my worst nightmare was about to become the worst 24-hour reality show in history. I finally understood what it meant to be “beside myself.” Which is why I decided to go – with two dear friends – to a “counter-inaugural demonstration” at…

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Sympathy cards in the time of COVID-19

The cruelty of the global pandemic seems limitless. So many broken promises, broken connections, broken hearts. News that the sympathy card sections at the drug store are as bare as the toilet paper aisle at the supermarket might seem like a small detail in the current landscape. But it is a loss layered upon the…

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Hanukkah 2019 – Don’t let the light go out

In 1993, in Billings, Montana, someone threw a brick through a window that displayed a child’s drawing of a menorah. That was the year I bought an electric menorah. I had always turned up my nose at them: ugly, commercial, crass, nowhere near as beautiful or meaningful as real flames. But candles burn out within an…

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Since when are tampons a “privilege?”

We are in the midst of a sea change in the image and even the experience of menstruation, thanks to a generation of girls who are growing up with much more information, thanks to moms and the internet, where cheerful gynecologists explain everything, including how to insert a tampon. (Raise your hand if you remember your first time doing that, all alone in the bathroom with nothing but a confusing package insert for guidance.)

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