Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

The past several years, just before my novel What Survives came out, I became friendly with some Turkish folks who left their homeland for asylum in the United States. Shortly after their arrival, Trump was elected President of the United States. When I asked my new friends if they were concerned about being deported or what might come of this administration, they told me not to worry. There are checks and balances here, they said. They also said: And I am seeking asylum. So, I am fine. Don’t worry about me. As our checks and balances began to be wiped away, I wondered if they realized what was happening. Most of them were too busy trying to establish themselves in a new country, struggling with learning English, dealing with family members and friends in Turkey...

A Question of Carbon Footprints and Other Potential Transgressions

I was in conversation with a dear friend, one who constantly challenges me to examine my better conscience and my behavior in relationship to the earth. I had just returned from my fifth trip to Mexico, a place where I am always happy to be. The kind and loving nature of the people, the colors, the tastes and smells, the music and fireworks, the history and cultural blend of Indigenous and Hispanic influences inspire and intrigue me. As I have had a long love affair with the desert and Turkey, I also dearly love Mexico. Call me fickle, I have always yearned to explore other places and other people. But I’m aware of my carbon footprint. This awareness does rub roughly against the isolation I feel when I limit my travel to keep my carbon footprint negligible. If we...

Reading Proust in Book Club

Reading Proust in Book Club

My book club, like most book clubs, has shifted its membership over the years. When I was invited to join, there were at least a dozen members. Now we are six. Several folks moved away, and a couple passed away. We made a declaration to keep going. During one of our most doubtful periods, and at the loss of another member, someone asked: Has anyone read Proust? These are really bright people. We do have one man in the group, so I cannot say “bright women,” but these are not readers of best sellers or pop fiction. We are serious readers. And yet, not one of us had ever read Proust. So, we agreed to read one volume of Proust every other month. In between, we would read something else, to be determined, but something not so dense. And so, we began, not without some...

Life isn’t fair

Life isn’t fair

As I gaze at the photo above, I cannot know if these little boys were merely having fun or this was how they managed to eat. They look clean and decently dressed, so perhaps it was a game. Who can come up with the best treasure? I hope it was all in fun, but the neighborhood was poor. I will never know. A number of years ago, when I was a white belt in karate, there was an instructor who would get us all into push-up position, and while we held our bodies up by our palms or fists or fingertips—whichever push-ups we were doing that day—he would give a brief discourse  beginning with “life isn’t fair.”  Of course, no discourse feels brief when one is holding a push-up position. I took this instructor’s class many times until I myself began to teach, and I...

Belonging to the Critter Club

Belonging to the Critter Club

It has often struck me, as indeed it has struck most of us who love our dogs with great passion, that the length of life allotted to dogs is exceedingly short. In my humble opinion, this is an unfortunate failure on the part of Mother Nature. After losing my beloved English cocker spaniel in the late 1980s, I swore never to have another dog. The loss was too hard to bear. I could not conceive of going through it all again. Years later,  after moving to New Mexico and living in a house with land, surrounded by open spaces nearby, my husband and I again revisited the idea of a dog. We went back and forth, researching different species and thinking about what breed would be best for us. They all fell short for one reason or another, and then with my many orthopedic...

Embracing the Winter Skies

Embracing the Winter Skies

Thoughts on our current political climate No place I have ever been has skies quite like New Mexico. They reflect moods that can turn on a dime. This was the winter sky at the beginning of our walk last week, indicating by all signs that a storm was coming. We were the only car in the parking lot and the only people in the park. A light snow blew around us. Our blue heeler Django led the way, searching for life, dogs, other humans. My mind went, as it almost always does these days, to our political climate. The storm has been coming and coming and coming, but it never actually seems to get here. The daily information builds to bursting, but the explosion never comes to pass. Just more dark clouds, wind and dust on the horizon. If this were summer, it would be...

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