Musings . . .

on the passing scene


Do you remember the sorority and fraternity scene in high school with all its hazing rituals for testing the ‘pledgies’ with public humiliation? I was always amazed watching girls sink to their knees to sing to an upper-class Sister,  “I’m a whale down soror, a...

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Up In The Air

For Adriel Heisey

Several years ago I had the great good fortune to fly above the Sonoran Desert a few times with a wonderful aerial photographer in his hand-built ultra-light plane, in search of prehistoric ruins. We took off from Tucson in pre-dawn darkness, the wind in our faces and our feet dangling in plain air – and my heart in my mouth – and we communicated by talking through the walky-talkies in our helmets.

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Immigrants, Gophers and the Moon

This week I saw some of the best theater I’ve ever seen, PARADISE SQUARE, a musical depiction of New York City in the late 1800s, when newly emancipated slaves from the south were arriving along with Irish immigrants escaping the Irish potato famine. It was the...

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For Carol M.

Sitting around the campfire on my brother’s farm with friends late one night last summer, I stood up to shake out a stiff knee when I lost my balance and stumbled backwards, falling and catching my hand in the metal spring of a folding chair that snapped shut like a vise onto my knuckles. It was the very definition of a ‘freak accident.’

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

While having morning tea at a friend’s place recently, his teenaged son came into the kitchen still tousled with sleep to tell us his dream – a nightmare, really. It was about an evil takeover of the world, the details still vivid in his grainy voice and frightened...

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The Healing of Humiliation

Who doesn’t have stories? I certainly do. Growing up in wartime in a family of frightened Jews, I took in their fear and anger with every breath. My child’s body was acquainted with grief, and I learned to swallow down tears until I could no longer feel the sorrow,...

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Healing The Past

In my late teens, my brilliant but troubled boyfriend asked me to marry him. I wasn’t ready to think about marriage, but he put a ring on my finger anyhow and declared us engaged. He was a bit of a bully and I was a confused kid. For another two years I took it off...

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Antidotes to Poison

When I was pregnant with our first child, I had a dream one night of a rainstorm that rained drops of meat, rather than rain. Hungry people danced in the streets, grabbing for the falling food and stuffing it into their mouths. In horror I watched them double over in...

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The Dilemmas of Being a Benefactor

For Darryl, Kate, Cassandra, and Jerry

When Herb, my husband of many decades died almost four years ago, I was left with an inheritance just gracious enough to realize a lifelong ambition to buy a farm in order to give it away. That is, I have dreamed of removing land from the speculative market economy and putting it into the public trust in order to challenge our assumptions about what is called “private property.” The idea of owning pieces of the earth and doing with it whatever we pleased seemed crazy to me. I didn’t believe in it for a minute, so this windfall of discretionary money could be just the ticket to challenge it.

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Getting Along!

At a gathering recently I was chatting with an African-American friend about gentrification in our town, and the inevitable lack of affordable housing for young folks and for people of color. “When I was growing up,” he told me, “there were fourteen of us living in...

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Photo of Carolyn North by Susan Wilson

Carolyn North

Photo: Susan Wilson