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Articles About Personal History
When I was six — and eight, and 10, but never again after then — I made valentines for everybody in my class. Everybody did. The rule was that you liked everybody, even those you suspected you didn’t like.
Years ago I had a friend, culturally but not religiously Jewish, who devised a third greeting: “Happy Hanukwanzamas!” I was there the day he worked it out on a piece of paper, fitting the three words together.
In memory, snow fell all winter those first two years. Our backyard became a closet stuffed with bridal gowns, frothy white forms smothering every bush and tree. I loved the stacked inches atop the clean curves of honeysuckle, and the transformed hemlock, a dark Pegasus spreading white wings.
One of the pleasures of being an adult is recalling the pleasures of childhood. You might think that’s one of the bummers of being an adult — but remembering can be full of its own pleasure.
Home is home. When we return a person to the earth, we’re not just sealing them in our hearts, we’re committing them to a spot, one spot, on this great globe.
With dogs, touch is talking, and talking is touch. Our voice tone is received as hard or soft hands, and we ourselves begin to feel our words, their hardness and their softness, tangibly in our mouths.
We took the long way around Ellis Pond, stopping to observe a kingfisher pair. Big dark heads, a call like a rattle and wings that opened smartly as scissors. We looked for the Great Blue Heron, but didn’t see him — or her — solitary dweller in the stream and weeds.
Paradoxically, imagination grounds us in the world. It takes us out of the world, and out of ourselves, only to locate us more deeply there, with greater awareness and greater capacity for awareness.
Trembling in my car as I was ordered to leave the Speedway campus on the night after an upsetting, disorienting and momentous election, I realized: I am afraid, so afraid, to speak up, not just to the man in the fluorescent vest, but really to anyone who may not like what I have to say.
I don’t make a habit of riding around town at dusk, but maybe I should! The rewards are subtle. I’m not looking for anything exotic from my fellow villagers, just plain life. A woman at a sink. A man in a chair, inspecting his glasses.