WordPress sends me an every-other-day reminder that it’s time to blog here. Okay, I guess I’m the one who set that reminder, but somehow I keep ignoring it, thinking no one is in any mood for poetry midst news of war, rising inflation, challenges to women’s health, election shenanigans, and now yet another horrific mass murder of school children and teachers.

Among the voices of sanity that I turn to, Dr. John McWhorter, a linguist and Columbia University professor, often adds context and insight for me on the often idiotic misinterpretations of guiding words and their intentions. You might have to subscribe to the newsletter to access this NY Times opinion piece that came out today, but I recommend his other articles and podcasts, which you can access freely online. If you’re interested in the science of what words are and what they are for and how they reveal a moral path, you’ll find it in his work.

As much as I value trying to see where the other side is coming from on a given issue, my curiosity and compassion have limits, and here I see true immorality—be it as a student of civics, language, or just plain life—in the lack of interest some of our officials have in preventing the violence we routinely see.

John McWhorter, New York Times, Opinion, Subscriber Newsletter, May 27, 2022

I’m not as pessimistic about the possibility of change in our country. Maybe that’s because I see and nurture young people whom I hope and pray will survive this attack on their innocence. They are coming soon and, trust me, they will fix this.

Upper Nyack Elementary School, spring concert directed by Stephen Yankou, June 13, 2013

Science and logic can help our minds. When is the time to say something about open-heartedness? Isn’t it when we are falling head-first into loss and grief?

Open the heart. It is our parachute, our only hope.

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