Silent Night

Things can be crappy (you want a better word but that’s really how it feels) — crappy, top-of-the-line, end-of-the-line crappy, nothing the way it’s supposed to be, including your feeling of dissatisfaction with words, and then you just go, you go out alone into the dark night and walk up the road and the air…

Interlude – for San Bernardino

Let’s make him fly, says Milo, about his foam board Santa hitched to tottering, prop-legged reindeer when we get out the Christmas decorations. And I believe him. I believe in him. I have to. Because more people were gunned down today. People who help people were gunned down today. So sweet five-year-old boy, I will…

Disaster/Relief

  On Monday evening, which happened to be the evening of my 43rd birthday, my husband came home with the mail and dropped it on the desk as usual. And it was the usual pile of bills and holiday catalogs and appeals for end-of-year donations. And the Princeton Alumni Weekly. For years, when this magazine…

Hawk/Mountain/Cry

This post is an adaptation of a talk I gave at the Santa Rosa Creek Zen Center on May 11, 2015.   I. There’s an old, well-known haiku by the poet Basho that goes like this: Even in Kyoto— hearing the cuckoo cry, I long for Kyoto. In koan practice with the Pacific Zen Institute,…

Walking through Waste

I spent the weekend raging. Beginning on Friday night, glued to the links I’d followed from Facebook about the Charlie Hebdo murders, I raged against the simplicity of media analysis, raged against hatred, and then, at midnight, sitting up in bed, I raged against my husband for not “getting” politics and race in precisely the…

Standing in His Shoes

My grandfather Robert was a large man, in many ways. He drank Coca-Cola, smoked too much, adored candy, ate liverwurst sandwiches with potato chips on top. He died of emphysema when I was in high school, before I got to the age when I could have straight-up conversations with him about the world. He was…