Photo by Dimitri on Unsplash

I ‘ve just read a story on Upworthy.com, about what men need to do to make women feel safe in public spaces. Among other things, it said that if a man needs to pass a woman on a street, he should first give her a verbal warning that he’s about to pass her, then, give her a wide berth and cross to the other side of the street, while keeping his face visible (but not looking at her).

As a woman, and a survivor of sexual assault, I’m here with this message for men: Please don’t do that. If I…


Photo by Irena Carpaccio on Unsplash

Merrimac, Massachusetts is the kind of town you’d expect to see in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Nestled along the north shore of the Merrimack River, it was originally slated to be part of New Hampshire, with the river serving as the state boundary, but in the end, the boundary was set a few miles farther north. One elderly citizen jokes, “I’m glad they didn’t make that river the state boundary after all, because I never could have stood those cold New Hampshire winters!”

The town’s narrow streets are lined with colonial houses, and the local families have deep roots. While…


Photo by Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash

Most of us have our little luxuries. A beer on the weekend. A particular color of nail polish. An occasional movie. I’m pretty frugal. I have to be, living paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have a car. I don’t drink, or go out to movies, or buy junk food. I own one pair of shoes, which I replace every five years or so. But I like my coffee, and every couple of weeks, I indulge in the real thing — a fancy flavored latte from a coffee shop. …


A Brief Moment of Magic with an Unpopular Species

Wishbone after release, showing the distinctive marking that gave him his name.

Have you ever felt the tiny hand of a newborn baby clinging to your thumb? That’s what it feels like when a rattlesnake grips your fingers with his tail. Rattlesnakes do that a lot. You should probably just take my word for that. Rattlesnake rescue isn’t for the faint of heart. There are cars out there where we’re working, and those things are deadly.

It was late, and most of the human traffic was done for the night when my friend and I came across a Northern Pacific rattlesnake we’d removed from the road several times before. Patrolling the same…


Uaigneach abhi mé ar feadh tamaill ar tráthnóna beag inníu ag éisteacht leis na preácháin ag screadáil agus ag teacht abhaile daobhtha …”

“I was lonely for awhile this evening, listening to the crows cawing as they returned home. If I should hear the beautiful lark, it would break my heart. Now, as I write, the odd curlew calls mournfully as they fly over. I like the birds. Well, I must go, for if I write more about the birds, my tears will be flowing.“

The words were written on a scrap of toilet paper with a pen refill, which…


Photo by Ivan Lenin

“As well might you leave the faeries to plough your land or the idle winds to sow it, as sit down and wait for freedom.” — Thomas Davis

I used to think it was all black and white. War, peace, love, hate. “What if they held a war, and no one showed up?” But, standing face to face with the reality of violent oppression, it becomes eminently clear that these are the fantasies of a child, simplistic and untenable in the complexity of the real world. What if they held a war and no one showed up? It happens every…


Lessons For War, Peace, and Life

“Bobby Sands — Belfast Murals” by infomatique is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When I look back, I barely recognize the person I was before them. Before I tried to donate money to an unpopular cause and found my offer so gently refused that there wasn’t a trace of awkwardness.

“Please don’t send any money. We have what we need, and if anyone doesn’t, the others share with him. You asked what you can do to help. We’re not interested in your money, but the fact that you’ve put your hand out to us in friendship means the world to us. …

W. R. Shaw

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