I'm a news hound. So it's not surprising that I've been thinking a lot lately about walls. I'm also a poet with a deep love of history, and to me, walls are symbols that speak of exclusion and threat. And I’m not alone. Over the centuries, countless poets have pondered the value and fate of history's many walls.
In recent years, the postal service has been a popular fiscal flogging post for politicians. But according to this year’s Gallop poll, 74 percent of the American public rate the post office the most trusted federal agency. And I agree.
I’m one of those people who find the national news increasingly disheartening, so I appreciate when online sites and some mainstream media include “good news” in their coverage – like humanitarian stories that inspire and lift the bar instead of lowering it.
For the young and the agile, winter in Vermont means heading to the ski slopes or crisscrossing white fields, donning snowshoes or silver skates. But for many older Vermonters or anyone with mobility problems, winter can be more of a challenge than a game. Homes are shuttered, life moves indoors and social connections go dormant.
I wonder what Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr would have thought about Twitter. Limited to one hundred and forty characters, today's tweets are commonly regarded as disposable political rhetoric.
I love hearing the birds in spring. Their backyard serenade greets me in the morning, inviting me to share their symphony. Chirps, chatters, warbles and caws are all music to my ears. For me, the sight - and especially the sound - of returning birds are a festive rite of spring.
Back when I moved to Vermont in the 80s, it took many cords of wood to stoke fires, and mittens and the occasional mail flyer often disappeared into the January snow banks, not to reappear until the snow melted in March – or even April. Pipes froze as well as rivers, and so did Lake Champlain - all the way across.
Robert Frost, poet, Vermonter, and sometime farmer, captured the conundrum of walls perhaps better than anyone else, when he wrote, more than a century ago, "something there is that doesn't love a wall."
Even though the diminishing light of November and early December often drag me into the doldrums, the holiday season usually seems to arrive just in time. In late November, we stop to express thankfulness, celebrating abundance and family. Then comes the segue to December when red-suited Santas ring bells on the corner and cards and hearts share the hope of peace and goodwill toward men.
There's a lot of talk these days about closings and stress - buzz words that swirl around the two top news stories - the elections and the World Series. Stress and closings - I think the concepts are closely related. And so are the news stories.
This is a year of milestones in my life, a year of decades. I'm in my seventh decade now and my daughter-in-law just entered her third. For my granddaughter, turning five years old, it's her first half-decade. Milestones for us all, markers of miles, telling us how far we’ve come but not what lies ahead - which is what really tweaks my curiosity, wanting to know what lies around the next corner.
In a world that seems to be filled with so much hatred and animosity, it may seem strange to talk about happiness. But connecting with the simple goodness in life restores me and reminds me of what I value.
The tomatoes are plumping up, the cukes are prolific and the acorn squash, abundant. No, I’m not talking about here in Vermont. Not yet anyway. But that’s what I hear from my longtime Vermont neighbors who’ve relocated to Florida. They’re the former proprietors of the many-acre-garden and Florida is now where they grow their vegetables.
Kindness and compassion are the new buzz words in academia. With Harvard leading the way, 85 top colleges and universities have launched a program to revamp the college admissions process. It's called Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions.
Once again, Albert Einstein brings the biggest present to his own birthday party. March 14 marks 137 years since he was born. Last year his birthday was celebrated with a stir confirming his theories about how we view objects in distance space. This year the day is distinguished by a gift he actually gave the world a century ago, but one that scientists are only now getting around to opening.
January is the quiet month - a respite after the frenetic busyness of the holidays. In January, I love to awaken to the calm of white , after soft snow has fallen overnight and spread a blanket on our world. Even better is when it comes as a surprise as I draw open the curtains. Quiet sometimes speaks more than words. It's a new year's message that says, slow down you're missing what’s here in this moment because you're rushing.