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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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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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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