Fear Is a Color

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Back in January of 2014, Pope Francis was speaking to the throng gathered in the piazza below his window. He appealed for peace in Ukraine, where recent demonstrations against government corruption had resulted in the death of  protesters.

He chose to close his message in a picturesque way—by having two doves released from the window. But the gesture was memorable in a way Francis never anticipated. 

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What We Learn from Turtles

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Cape Cod stretches thirty miles out into the North Atlantic, where I live. Sea turtles love our Bay about as much as I do. Each spring, they work their way north from the Caribbean for summertime feeding.

But the outstretched arm of Cape Cod acts as a giant seine that catches them in a death embrace. 

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Slack Tide

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Life is a blur of information, obligations and commitments. So what else is new? But at midnight on New Year’s—as at no other moment of the year—both hands of the clock pause and join to point heavenward in the classic pose of prayer.

In oceanography, Slack Tide is the imperceptible, discreet moment when the tide pauses—and turns. Midnight is the Slack Tide of our day, New Year’s the Slack Tide of the year. And each of us has one particular day that is the Slack Tide of our life.

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Exits and Entrances

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At year’s end it’s customary to look back to review while looking forward to renew. It’s a time of transition, when a new portal opens to us to either pass through to a new beginning—or cling to a past that cannot return.

This is why ancient Romans built their cardinal temple to Janus with one door facing the rising sun and the other its setting.

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Voluntary Madness

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         My side felt a lot better when Nora called me at noon the next day. "My nice policeman wants to see you," she said. "How do you feel?"

         "Terrible. I must've gone to bed sober."

                                                               Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man

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Scrooge Is Alive and Well and Living in Silicon Valley

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According to the famous first line of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “Marley was dead.”

Marley may be dead. But Scrooge still lives.

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The Sinister Side of Christmas

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We work so hard each December at making Christmas merry, but the roots of our celebrations run deep and dark.

Within the past several days, I’ve attended performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Cape Cod and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Two vastly different interpretations of the holiday, but they share a dark heritage.

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Letter from the Desert

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With Hanukkah under way and Christmas around the corner, this doesn’t seem a time to write about deserts. But when my wife of 50 years withdrew from this world last week, I found myself left in an abandoned place. 

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Remember

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My wife of fifty years died as dawn was breaking on December 1. I prepared this remembrance for her Mass of Christian Burial celebrated today.

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Thanksgiving, Again and Always

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I’m writing this blog post on Thanksgiving Day, at my wife’s bedside in Cape Cod Hospital, where she is recovering from a severe reaction to a new chemotherapy.

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