My Father’s Life (and death)

When my parents were younger than I am now, they sold their house and moved to a unit in a retirement complex that offered assisted-living services and was attached to nursing home. My father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and while my mother’s health was much better than his, she did have medical issues […]

Murmurs of the Heart

When the cheerful young cardiologist listening to the thumpings and rumblings inside my chest declared that my heart was free of murmurs, the phrase “murmurs of the heart” began racing around the tangled circuits of my brain. That’s what happens to someone fatally attracted to metaphor, and in this case the neural janglings led to […]

Who Are My Heroes Now?

The other night I watched a PBS rerun of Agatha Christie’s Marple, the British TV series featuring the elderly sleuth, Jane Marple. For those unfamiliar with this character who played a central role in a dozen Christie novels and a number of short stories, she is a village spinster whose outwardly mild demeanor belies a […]

Friendship and Death

One day in late October I was hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains when my wife texted to tell me that Michael, an old friend I hadn’t seen for awhile, was dying. One of his closest friends, Tim, didn’t have my phone number, so he came by my house and told my wife that Michael […]

On the Summit of the Mountain

In May of 2015, I hiked with four other people to the summit of Mt. Baldy, the mountain officially known as Mount San Antonio although hardly anyone calls it that. At just over ten thousand feet, it’s the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountains, the transverse range that rises north of downtown Los Angeles […]

Into the 9th Decade

The last few weeks were suffused with a slowly-growing sense of dread. Being eighty years old, it seemed, would mark the beginning of a new reality, one dominated by a powerful awareness of time and its limits. When I sat down to write, as I often do, would a concern with the arrangement of words […]