Echoes of Summers Past

kids and bikes


The weeping willows are the first in our neighborhood to let on that summer is waning. By mid-August they are dropping leaves left and right–early enough that at first glance one wonders if they’re simply dying, or if there’s some terrible drought–leaving their wispy, gray branches draped among a chorus of cicadas singing of colder nights ahead.

This fall we’ll mark five years living on this street, enough time for me to know that the willows do this every season. But this summer has had a lot of echoes.

Thomas learned to ride a bicycle in June. We got him a new bike to mark the occasion, a bold and smart looking blue and orange, and with a few lessons post-training wheels, he was soon enough on his way. Continue reading “Echoes of Summers Past”

North Carolina could see the same violence as Charlottesville


How a combination of legislative overreach and an enabled white nationalist movement could spell disaster for North Carolina

This past weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, VA prompted outrage across the political spectrum after three were killed and dozens injured at a white nationalist rally and counter-protest. The rally, held at a park home to a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and on the grounds of the University of Virginia, turned deadly when a terrorist drove his car into a crowd protesting the white nationalists. Both of North Carolina’s senators¬†condemned the violence.

North Carolina, however, is considerably vulnerable to the same kind of attacks witnessed in its neighboring state due to recent legislation.

Confederate monuments across the state gained blanket protection from a 2015 law signed into place by then Governor Pat McCrory. The”Historic Artifact Management and Patriotism Act,” which states that historic monuments cannot be removed without the express permission of the state’s historical commission, came after heightened protests that year calling for the removal of “Silent Sam,” a statue of a Confederate soldier on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill. Continue reading “North Carolina could see the same violence as Charlottesville”

Our Country’s Grand Canyon

mountains majesty


I am weirdly patriotic. As cynical as I often feel about our country–about its sanctity of capitalism, its perverse bureaucracies–I have a ready-made soft spot for the pageantry of this land.

In the years following September 11th, I teared up singing the third verse of “America”: Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears….

When I traveled to Washington for work, I was drawn to the avenues crowded with granite-faced monuments, testaments of our people’s hard-fought efforts.

I choke up anytime a military officer tenderly hands a spouse the flag that moments ago draped a casket. It doesn’t matter whose.

There is something comforting about our systems, the simple drawings of our order: the conformity of interstate highway markings, the plain hues of printed money. Even the modern aesthetic of National Park signs moves me, the efforts to carefully note the blessed continental cathedrals wrought by time and, depending on your point of view, the Creator. Continue reading “Our Country’s Grand Canyon”