The Merciful Scale of Life

For some butterflies, all of life is a few summer days of nectar and copulation, a few sweet nights of frogs singing from the ditch. Scale matters. A very brief life does not see much, and if lucky, sees only good. A flea can live like a burgher on a dog for its 90 days. […]

The Peace of the Land

“The peace of the land, the last islands of this peace, made me feel small. I welcomed the feeling. It was a pleasure to feel insignificant, to let my desires quiet, to feel, in the moment, the human body as an instrument attuned to peace.” ― Alison Hawthorne Deming I am sitting on my back […]

Consecutive and Slow

There is a lot happening these days. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s likely signing into state law one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation both confounds and saddens. Game of Thrones comes to a predictably cold-comfort, power-corrupts end this Sunday after eight seasons. Somehow these disparate events–one all-too-real, the other fictional–seem weirdly, if […]

Trump Praises Environment at Louisiana LNG Facility

  President Donald Trump made a visit to southwest Louisiana’s new Cameron LNG plant yesterday—the same day that the first of its three “trains” (production lines) became operational. There are plans for two more trains at the site, which is 20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 30 miles from Texas. The plant is […]

What a Puzzle is Kindness

Henry James’ biographer Leon Edel uses an anecdote from James’ nephew Billy, who visited Henry in England in 1902 and says his uncle told him: “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” As inspirational quotes will, […]

Mothers, Of Course, Are Human

Cue the scene: The neighborhood post office with my toddler daughter and we are annoyingly in love. We giggle, we think buying stamps is an adventure, and we hold each other even though Luci is perfectly capable of walking and standing upright. “Up, up!” she tells me when I put her down, so I pick […]

New Documentary Portrays What “Alone” Really Means

Last Breath is a documentary made in conjunction with BBC Scotland. “This is a true story,” its opening credits say. It uses interviews, original footage, and reconstructed scenes in the mix we have come to know from History- and Discovery-Channel productions. But Last Breath is more harrowing and emotional than any of those. (This review […]

“Lose Something Every Day.”

This past Sunday I lost my keys. I did not panic; I did not skip too many beats. Instead, I grabbed the spare keys and my 2-year-old daughter Lucinda, and I picked up a prescription and a few items at the grocery store, where I held on for dear life to a miniature grocery cart […]

Mutual Aid and Social Media

The Lyft driver drove to support his passion, he said: standup comedy. He offered his business card, with his website, phone number, and a long URL at Mixstep, a file-sharing platform, where he had uploaded audio from his 45-minute set. He said he was paid 20 cents every time someone listened, but he laughed at […]

“Like a Carcinogenic Siren”

You gotta love a Netflix series that explores existential dread and the nature of time; an edgier, feminist take on Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin’s classic 1993 comedy, Groundhog Day; and makes allusions to the Divine Comedy, The Odyssey, and the power and confusion of liminal spaces. Plus, Harry Nilsson’s 1971 song, “Gotta Get Up,” serves […]