A Mouse With a Peanut. Painting by Albert Anker (1831-1910). My maternal grandmother, of blessed memory, used to say that if someone wants to give you something free, take it. If you can't use it, she said, pass it on to someone who can. There is a lot of wisdom in my grandmother's saying. She … Continue reading A Puny Creature Like You?
The Murder of Caesar. Painting by Karl Theodor von Piloty, 1865. Have you ever betrayed someone who trusted you; alternatively, have you ever been betrayed by someone in whom you had placed your confidence? Brutus, Judas, Benedict Arnold--these names have come down to us and are remembered not for good things they did, and surely … Continue reading Wings Like a Dove
Backyard Roses. Photo by Beth Ben-Avraham, Beersheba, Israel, 2019. On March 24, 1976, two policemen knocked on the door of my apartment in student housing at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. The policemen told me that they had received a message; I was to call my father's music store in Jackson. Both my former … Continue reading The Bitter and the Sweet
Blind child making the acquaintance of a bit of statuary at Oklahoma School for the Blind. March 1917. By Lewis Hine, 1874-1940, photographer. Walking home after Morning Prayers, I pass a spot where a kind-hearted woman feeds homeless cats. The woman knows her customers well. She puts several servings of food down. She sets them … Continue reading With Eyes That Could Not See
Jacob’s Ladder, by Jacques Stella, Date: 1650. In the section of the Pentateuch that will be read in synagogue this coming Sabbath [Genesis 28:10 - 32.3], the patriarch Jacob is traveling, on rather short notice, to spend time with his uncle, his mother's brother. His brother, Esau, is angry with Jacob. He wants to kill … Continue reading Keep on Climbing
"Odysseus in the Cave of Polyphemus" by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). Charles Darwin is fascinating to read, from many viewpoints. There is, of course, the obvious one—the scientific one. He is a keen observer. We marvel at the meticulous details he records about botany, geology, marine biology, and zoology, for instance. It’s impossible, though, not to … Continue reading With Darwin’s Eyes and Ears
"Orchid" by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash. Sometimes I become so focussed on achieving a particular goal that I miss the significance and beauty of other things, of other people, even the reason I had the goal in the first place. When my son was in elementary school, learning the multiplication tables, he found them challenging. … Continue reading One Times One Is One
“The Embrace” Some of my fondest memories as a child are of my mother’s singing to me. She was born and grew up in Appalachia. Most of the songs she sang were the hillbilly, bluegrass, or country songs she knew and loved. One of them, “The Knoxville Girl,” has an intriguing history, but I can’t … Continue reading Life’s Crooked Road