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Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction

Birth Day

Three years ago today, I pushed open a heavy door with clammy, shaking hands. The dimly lit room was warm, the scent of antiseptic and exhaustion hanging in the humid air like a damp curtain. Drawn white shades over a large window hindered the bright light of a beautiful day. Five people followed behind me, their previously excited voices temporarily silenced. A single overhead light cast a soft glow over a bed surrounded by machines quietly beeping, their bright yellow lights blinking on and off like buoys encircling an island. My daughter rested on the bed-island propped up by doughy

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Non-Fiction

Birthday Dance

In my family, birthdays are celebrated with a lovely meal, ice cream instead of cake, a few well-chosen gifts and wine. This year was a big one for me—my 60th. So when I was asked how I wanted to celebrate, I thought about this past year with COVID, of missing family and friends, of living through a time of huge social, political and psychological unrest. And then, I recalled one of the happiest times of my life: I’d just turned 18. Fresh out of high school, I was headed to college where I’d plant the seeds for my future. In

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Non-Fiction

Time to Push

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, every year during my springtime birthday is when I’ve tended to create new goals for myself. Maybe it’s because spring time replaces the dead of winter with the possibility of new life, or because Earth Day forces me to think beyond my own little postage stamp of existence. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about this moment we’re in and what comes next. It’s so easy to feel disheartened right now. The extreme political polarization of this time has seeped into many of our family interactions

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Non-Fiction

The Art of a Virus

I’m walking along my usual path through a familiar forest. It’s almost sunset on a late winter afternoon and I’m alone, hiking through knee-deep snow that feels as if it’s been falling forever. The hike seems just as endless, as if the path has become one long, circular loop. My toes and the ends of my fingers are stingingly cold; they prickle and burn like they’re on fire. My lungs feel the same as I heave myself through the drifts. I’m exhausted, so I stop for a moment to take a look around. The sky is melting into a dazzling,

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Non-Fiction

Truth Before Unity

My husband and I got into a fight. He yelled at me, I yelled back at him. And then, silence. For a full day. When we started speaking again, we didn’t talk about why we were mad at each other. Just swept it under the marital rug. To anyone else, we didn’t look or act like we were still seething inside. But we were. I’ve been thinking a lot about unity. That’s what everyone wants, right? But what is it, and what’s the best and fastest way to get it? As it so often does, history may provide an answer.

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Non-Fiction

Are You Ready For a Change?

There were mostly middle-aged white people, residents of the city in which I live, congregating on the front lawn of city hall when I arrived that night. A state assemblyman from my district was speaking on a bullhorn, urging people to stay until 7pm, when the curfew would begin. At 6pm, a line of military trucks from all over the state came cruising down the avenue before stopping at the light, flexing their military muscle to the people lining the sidewalk. Residents shouted, “Go home” and “We don’t want you here.” We moved to this community nearly 30 years ago

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Non-Fiction

Noise

We all make mistakes for which we should all be forgiven,” our yoga teacher announces as class begins. “This morning, I am choosing to forgive the mistake they apparently made out there.” He smiles, then motions with his chin toward the window where, across the street, two men in matching highlighter-yellow jackets are using a jackhammer to break up a new concrete sidewalk poured only a few weeks ago. The workers had become familiar to us, part of a construction crew working on a new development across from our yoga studio, their noise competing with the instructions of our sensei

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Non-Fiction

How Many Boomers Does it Take?

Virtual Seder meals. Drive-through church services. Zoom happy hours. FaceTime reunions. Many of us are valuing time with family and friends now more than ever. And we’ve gotten pretty inventive at finding new and safe ways to connect. I thought I’d share one of my recent “virtual connecting” experiences: There were nine of us, average age 62, old friends who have been meeting for dinner every month for the past three decades, attempting to reconnect after days and days of staying in to stay safe. Earlier in the week, Tom volunteered to use Microsoft Office to bring all of us

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