• A Reason to Yield

      Over the past few years,  our county government  has built roundabouts on a number of thoroughfares in the area where I  live.  The idea behind these circles in the middle of well -traveled roads was to replace stop signs and improve traffic flow. Were our county leaders trying to copy Washington DC’s Dupont Circle and Thomas Circle, which handle a great amount of traffic fairly well each day? Perhaps so.  Ours aren’t as elaborate as the ones in DC, however, but they’re working very well. To date, we have six of them, and I have  yet to see or hear of a traffic accident at  any one of them.…

  • Taking It Light

      When you’re out and about, do you ever find yourself  so preoccupied with your own thoughts that you tune out the talk around you? Not me. Without even trying, I hear snippets of all kinds of conversation. I’m not listening deliberately, but I hear anyway. Perhaps it’s the curious writer in me. Once as I  walked behind two students on a university campus sidewalk. I caught snatches of what they were saying, but it was when they got ready to go their separate ways that I heard the words that stuck with me. The young woman told the fellow she was with, “Take it light.”  English teacher that I…

  • The Linchpin

    linchpin/noun/ a pin passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position/ a person or thing vital to an enterprise; a vitally important person; one that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit (Merriam Webster Dictionary); the most important member of a group or part of a system that holds together the other members or parts or makes it possible for them to operate as intended (Cambridge Dictionary) In Anthony Doerr’s bestseller All the Light We Do Not See, seven-year-old Werner asks a lot of questions: “If the moon is so big, why does it look so little?”  and…

  • Green in the Spring

    In my neighborhood, spring announced its planned  arrival several weeks ago  with clusters of yellow brightness in my neighbor’s yard a few doors down the street. Let me say that, from my reading of Scripture, I have learned to shun coveting—not a good thing. Case in point: the calamitous results that followed the actions of  Ahab and Jezebel, which lets me know that dire consequences  come in the wake of covetousness.  Yet every time I drove past that front yard, the thought crept into my mind, I wish I had some of those. The “those” were the neighbor’s jonquils,  clustered bursts of life attracting admiration—perhaps a little envy—and certainly signaling…

  • Hear Their Voices

    Our year now boasts two dedicated, high-profile months: February, which we just completed for Black History Month, and March, which is becoming known for much more than kites and blustering winds. It took an act of Congress to make  the entire month of March  a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women, and it is now a blessed reality. As was the case with  Black History Month, having a month in celebration of women’s history has been incremental. First a day, then a week, and then in 1987 a month in full-blown acknowledgment  that women deserve a place at the table and that the acknowledgment needs to be…

  • Life’s Two Sides

      Seeing that 2022 is still young, I can be forgiven  for looking at it in its newness and thinking thoughts  that a new beginning often elicits. The  inherited challenges from the old year  seem  oblivious to our desire for their abatement; it’s  as if they’ve come to stay. However, if we  think of the dual nature of experience and match our attitude to its reality,  we should be able  to make peace with the hard places we will encounter this year  and  achieve a satisfying level of peace and joy in our lives. I’m sure you’re familiar with the truism, there are two sides to every story; now let’s…

  • Looking Ahead

      If the year 2022 were a book, one look at the table of contents forecasting what’s ahead would cause us to close the covers in a hurry, never to open it again.  We have come through some difficult times, and based on  what we  saw, heard, and experienced in 2021, we can do one of two things:  shut the book or  open its pages,  intent on finding fresh reasons to hope for a better year ahead. As we try to peer into the ensuing months, what we see may look daunting, and we may be tempted to do the usual new year’s thing: make resolutions that will help us…

  • Seeing Beyond the Manger

    Another Christmas is about to break upon us. I heard the rumblings even before Black Friday. Television ads and programs alerted me to the big event ahead. Grown though we are, and maybe a little cynical about all the fuss the season generates, I would hazard a guess that most, if not all of us, are looking forward to the arrival of Christmas  with a degree of anticipation. Some of our eagerness may be out of habit, but for most of us it’s a genuine desire to see the day and celebrate its joy. People have all kinds of reasons  for loving the Christmas season: the cheerfulness, the familiar carols,…

  • A Season to Hope

      Welcome to November! This month signals our closeness  to the end of the year, a year that now seems decrepit, altogether unlovely,  because of its burden of the coronavirus pandemic. We hope for brighter days ahead. November is best known for Thanksgiving and for the end of Daylight Saving Time, but the month is packed with special days, some of which seem trivial or whimsical.  It’s the month for National Authors Day (November 1), World Vegan Day  (November 1), Cliche Day (November 3), I Love to Write Day (November 18),  and Stay at Home Because You’re Well Day (November 30). The more serious celebratory days are  Veterans Day (November…

  • There’s Something Shaky about a Pedestal

      A new financial building opened up on a  street in our part of town some time ago. The bold signage says, “The Pinnacle.” That’s an attention-getting name, I thought, but I’ve been wondering since about what a name like that suggests. In the business world, in  careers, wherever people are or whatever they’re doing, they like the idea of being at the top, don’t they, to be lifted up, set  on a pedestal, so to speak? What’s a pedestal,  anyway? It’s an architectural term, designating the base or support on which a statue or column is mounted. One source I consulted gave as an example the Lincoln Statue on…