The Day

Some cold juice from a pitcher before dawn, The waking morning as I draw the door, The paper damp with dew from our front lawn, Returning footsteps wet upon the floor. An hour as the print meets my mind’s mist, Then back roads to the schoolroom, where the day With joy sees age cajole and [...]

When Menace Meets You

When menace meets you on the road When scolding cuffs your ears, When keen contempt lurks in the eyes Of your condemning peers, When romance casts you cruelly by For one of dearer worth, When random fortune makes you rue The moment of your birth, In short, when nature prompts the cry Of outrage in [...]

Pink Sequel, Part IV

This is the conclusion to the earlier installments: Parts I, II, III, and IV. The following Friday I stopped by Mrs. Holmes’s classroom, just to say hello--and to express my appreciation to Rebecca for sticking up for me.  I even felt like saying something nice to my former tormentors: Harlynn, Jolie, and Ava. That’s right--my [...]

Language Shapes Perception

Some years ago, NPR’s Radiolab aired an episode entitled “Why Isn’t the Sky Blue?” in which the hosts and some experts explored the role of language in human perception of the color blue.  Citing investigations done over a century ago by Lazarus Geiger and William Gladstone, the speakers noted an interesting pattern in the vast [...]

Pink Sequel, Part IV

In this episode, I learn that the girls have agreed to stop teasing me.  In fact, they propose--through Mrs. Casazza--to do something I would never have imagined. This continues Parts I, II, and III. Some weeks later, I sat in my office having usual breakfast and doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. It was [...]

Music: Glenn Gould

Sunday mornings are sacred to me, but not in a religious fashion. Nearly three decades ago, the cable channel A&E had excellent programming, and I used to enjoy Breakfast with the Arts, hosted by Elliot Forrest. It was broadcast on Sunday mornings, and it offered varied viewing related to fine arts and performance. There were [...]

Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity

This historical moment presents challenges to all of us.  For many, the economic implications will mean a significant change in the course of their lives.  Apprehension and despair loom. For some, this comes in addition to the suffering that comes with being a human being.  Struggle, desire, addiction, abuse, frustration--we wonder sometimes why such things [...]

The Importance of Nothing

Years ago I took up the concept of "nothing" with students, challenging them with a question that philosophers and scientists have pondered for years: Is nothing really nothing?  Or is it something? Over the course of about two decades, students from grades 3 through 12 have enthusiastically engaged in debate on this topic.  Their profound [...]