Monthly Archives: January 2009

St. Brigid’s Eve

I’ve always loved the word palimpsest. It’s kind of a show-off word – you can’t really throw it casually into a conversation; although I once used it, with a bit of trepidation, in a newspaper column. It’s the way I … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, festivals, memorials | 1 Comment

Uncontained time

Calendars are containers too – they contain time. I see the days as little stacks of calendar pages; and the months like a line of little fields, separated by twelve fences. The January field is blue-white, and seems longer than … Continue reading

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I feel so sad about John Updike

As I was sitting on the beach in Belize, writing about the great January 27 snowstorm, John Updike was dying. He has been a part of my life for so long. Since I first read Couples, in that strange libidinous … Continue reading

Posted in Death | 3 Comments

Spoon-bending, Part II

Our guide Pedro has never seen snow, except on TV. If he had grown up in Belize two centuries ago, the idea that there was such a thing as snow would never have occurred to him. I keep thinking of … Continue reading

Posted in God, etc. | Leave a comment

The Washington and Jefferson Snowstorm

Winters really did used to be different. In 1772, Washington, at Mount Vernon, and Jefferson, at Monticello, both recorded three feet of snow. The storm trapped them in their homes for two weeks. Here I sit, in the Belize breeze, … Continue reading

Posted in Seasons and weather | Leave a comment

Australia Day

They wave Australian flags, wear red white and blue shirts, march in parades and drink a lot of beer. Just like our Independence Day – except that they’re celebrating the antithesis of independence. On January 26, 1788, the first British … Continue reading

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Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

St. Paul the Apostle had unlikely beginnings as a terrorist. Saul of Tarsis, as he was first known, went from home to home in Jerusalem, dragging out Christians and putting them in prison. Then, as he was on his way … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, festivals, memorials, God, etc. | 2 Comments


I’ve been thinking about containers. I know what they are for me, but they’re hard to describe conceptually. Here are some examples: being on vacation, where someone else (or you, in advance) has done the planning, so that all you … Continue reading

Posted in Life's purpose, My so-called-life, Time and calendars | 1 Comment


If you’re looking for purpose in life, or Life, perspective helps. Flying is great, looking down at all those Pete Seeger-like houses – hothouses where relationships, emotions, comedies and tragedies are all cultivated. Flying off to a vacation is even … Continue reading

Posted in Life's purpose, Politics and history | Leave a comment

Meta shoes

I’m still celebrating ordinary time here, and so I find myself looking for signs of change in airports of all places. It’s crazy, I know, but Homeland Security was, after all, a Bush creation, and their reactive mentality is of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and history | Leave a comment