Still Points

Let me confess: it’s been damned hard to know what to write during pandemic times. But in August I started doing a short column for our local paper. I’m calling it “500 Words” here, since that’s how many words I’m supposed to use. I am posting them for the last five months, and will put them up as they out for however long this lasts. I hope they are helpful.


  • Delusion, Denial, Depression, Dark Night? (4/7/2021) - “Are we all going through a dark night of the soul?” he said. “That’s what one of my teachers said last week.” I have pondered that question for a month and have decided that I disagree. I do believe that we are all suffering, whether conscious of this fact or not. But we are not… Continue Reading
  • Proximity Incontinence (4/7/2021) - I remember walking home from school through the autumn leaves and sunshine, hurrying a little. Six years old, I had a full bladder and 8 blocks to cover. Things were fine until I reached the notoriously-hard-to-open back door. I yanked; it stayed shut. After a few more fruitless tugs, there on the concrete steps, urgency… Continue Reading
  • Feeling or Fact? (4/7/2021) - Two conversations and two questions: in the first exchange, a woman assured me that she was right in her stance about wearing/not wearing a mask because she could “feel it in her body.” In the second, a man said that when someone criticized him, she was being abusive—he knew this to be true because of… Continue Reading
  • 500 (plus) Words, January 2021: Taller Than a Dog (1/14/2021) - As I took the dog out for our early morning walk on Friday, I spotted her best friend down the street. Dolly, whose head rises a little over 18 inches off the ground, could see only the driveway rising in front of her.  I, being four feet taller, could see over the rise of the… Continue Reading
  • 500 Words, January 2021: Holding the Post (1/12/2021) - I recently went up Red Mountain Road to drop off some jam for friends. Their driveway being an impassable pile of snow, I parked below and followed a trail up the side of the mountain through a tract of mature forest. I felt those woods before I really saw them. Something made me stop, take… Continue Reading
  • 500 Words, December 2020: Contagion (12/15/2020) - In a photo that went viral recently, an elderly man with COVID-19 is seen from the back. His head is buried in the arms of a physician as he weeps. The hospital gown gaps, his scalp shows through thinning hair: a vision of naked vulnerability. The doctor who hugs him is fully garbed in PPE:… Continue Reading
  • 500 Words, November 2020: A Certain Kind of Blindness (11/30/2020) - If the recent snowfall made you dream about mai-tais on the beach or desert hikes; if you’re longing for the simple joy of hanging out; if you’re craving dinner parties and indiscriminate hugs; I say, join the club. I am yearning to stand too close, to reach out and hold a hand. I’d like to… Continue Reading
  • 500 Words, October 2020: Transformers (10/31/2020) - My grandson, Noah, is captivated by Transformers, those toys depicting sentient robots that configure themselves into other forms. The longest hour of my life was when he read me the Ultimate Guide to Transformers, which details the history of every character and all the forms they have ever taken. Mostly I heard about Optimus Prime,… Continue Reading
  • 500 Words, September 2020: Over the Meth Lab (9/30/2020) - One of the jokes going around has it that being a Canadian these days is like living over a meth lab. When I first heard this line, it was in reference to the intentionally stoked fear and loathing that currently characterize U. S. political discourse. What the joke didn’t address was the fact that even… Continue Reading
  • 500 Words, August 2020: False Flat (8/31/2020) - Recently, my sister introduced me to the term “false flat.” The phrase, coined by bicyclists, refers to a stretch that appears to offer easy riding but actually inclines uphill. The rider is seduced into expecting an effortless peddle but instead has to keep pumping. When you’ve anticipated coasting, it makes the ride that much harder.… Continue Reading
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