Today – Nov. 8, 2016 – is the first day that my three daughters are all able to vote in a presidential election – and they have done so: two by absentee ballot, one in person (with her husband). For me, that is history enough, but for them there is the added twist that they are able to cast their ballots for a woman who stands a solid chance of winning. All my years of hoping they understand that nothing is out of their reach because of their gender, are profoundly reinforced. Continue reading “The Unbearable Promise of Being”
What I really wanted to be when I was growing up was a famous novelist – at least as famous as Jules Verne, and maybe even as good. Now I’m resigned to having once visited an event, probably as a seven- or eight-year-old, that was also visited (possibly on the same day, perhaps at the same time) by Kurt Vonnegut, who was then within a few years of becoming what I really wanted to become. Continue reading “My World’s Fair”
Around the turn of the century (or the millennium, if you prefer), I began hiking in a semi-serious way, including overnights on a part of the Appalachian Trail that rambles from eastern New York through Connecticut to southern Massachusetts. The walking itself was calming and invigorating and reminded me of all the walking I had done over many years in my hometown of New York City – partly because I often paid less attention to where I was going, and more to where I was stepping next. Continue reading “Walking in the World”
Barely two weeks after the end of our major political parties’ conventions of posturing and pontificating, and about a dozen weeks until the vote to pick our next president, it might be worth remembering that 239 years ago, thousands of regular folk – including my 4th-great-grandfather Dependence Sturtevant – were actively involved in a North American war to earn us the right to participate in this glorious mess.
Continue reading ““How much it cost””
In late May 2016 in Milford, Conn., half a dozen regular folks – volunteers, good Samaritans – pulled to the side of what locals call the Route 15 Connector, which links Interstate 95 to Route 15 (from Milford east, called the Wilbur Cross Parkway – The Merritt to the west), and among them they managed to pull two young women from a car that had crashed and caught fire. Continue reading “The Vollies Are Busy”
I do not plan to make a habit of linking to other writers’ blogs, but this one resonates – and my longtime friend Liz Knapp Healy uncovered a good dose of serendipity in getting it to me.
I was recently waiting at a green light, letting a very long funeral procession cross through the intersection in front of me, when a pickup truck behind me swerved around my left (into the oncoming lane), honked, forced its way through the procession, and sped away down the street.
I have spent the past few days working hard to see how to simplify my life and in the process encountered a quote from the French-born Etienne de Grellet.
He was born in 1773 into lower royalty, educated appropriately for his station, and called to serve King Louis XVI in the years leading up to the Revolution that began shortly after we in the U.S. had settled the wrangling over our Constitution. De Grellet narrowly escaped execution in Paris and fled to our soil, where he changed his given name to Stephen and joined the society of Friends, becoming a Quaker missionary; he spent the rest of his life in prisons and hospitals, bringing comfort to the afflicted, and recording his ideas.
“I shall pass this way but once,” he wrote during that period. “Any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now.”
I believe a good dose of this thinking might persuade us to not break through a funeral procession.
I believe reading this blog post by the Rev. Cindy Maddox, senior pastor of the First Congregational Church of South Portland, Maine, might persuade us of the same.
That is, if we needed to be persuaded in the first place.
“Once at least in the life of every human,” MFK Fisher writes in Serve it Forth, “whether he be brute or trembling daffodil, comes a moment of complete gastronomic satisfaction.”
You can find mine under “Maine Blueberry Pudding” on Page 344 of the Tenth Edition of The Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Continue reading “Blueberries for John”
It would be nice if life brought to us challenges in neat packages: “Deal with this, and when you’re done I’ll bring you something new to test out.” Our school days (and years) are organized along these lines.
But the events and issues on our timelines overlap and circle around and sometimes travel against time and double up and triple up and overwhelm us and trip us up when they can. We do what we can, as we are able, using our skills for parsing catastrophe, and calling on the resources we recognize in the midst of all the chaos. Continue reading “Doing Dishes, While Living Life”
On June 23, 2016, I was busy charging my camera batteries, cleaning my lenses, sorting out my memory cards and road-testing a new one, and packing my gear and clothes to be ready for the Cape Cod wedding of a cousin of mine. I entirely missed the passing of Michael Herr, whose 1977 book Dispatches put some of what people love to call “closure” on my terrible fear of the Vietnam War. Continue reading ““Then you knew where you were””
Jesse Williams – TV, stage, and film actor, and activist – energized the audience at the BET Awards (and well beyond, via social and news media) with his acceptance speech for the award he received for his humanitarian work.
It is truly moving. Continue reading “The Burden of the Brutalized”