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Here is the problem: It is Monday morning and a sunny 69 degrees. A fresh, westerly breeze is sweeping my plant-and-flower-surround porch where I am writing. Dog Rabia is asleep within the bright circle of sunlight streaming in from over my shoulder. A happy and excited clutch of birds hops …

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I went on a brief fishing trip last week. Even just two days on the water was restorative.

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If the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting would have happened in ancient times, they would have said the shooter was possessed by a demon. They probably would have said, after Uvalde and Buffalo and Sandy Hook and going all the way back to Columbine, that anyone resisting serious gun-control mea…

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I have a confession to make. It is a little untoward to spill it here rather than in a dark booth to someone whose confidentiality is beyond reproach, so I hope you will be gentle and kind with my vulnerability.

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On July 4, 1776, the American Colonies declared their independence from the British Crown. Sometime in late August or early September, King George received it. The Crown’s official response was dated Oct. 31, 1776 — Halloween.

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I tried hard to sit on the porch in the sun this morning to write this column, but it was just too chilly. Staring out the window, from inside the house, the sunshine and pastel blue sky issued a persuasive invitation — compelling even.

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Even as the gray clouds gathered and I rode my bicycle eastward toward Waterloo, the colors whirled and zoomed around me. Yellow and black, red and brown, red and black, brown and white, white and blue, and blue all over — all swirling in front and above and around the wooded path. Their son…

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I am going to spill the beans. You already know I am a dog person, not a cat person — parallel devotions usually without intersection. So, this will further alienate you or tickle your attention.

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I am notorious in my family for moving furniture around. The desire to change a room used to come on me all of a sudden. Once, we lived in a big 100-plus-year-old house and my wife would come home and find two or three rooms rearranged. Or worse, she would come home and find me in the middle…

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I was sitting on my bench by the lake, Rabia by my side, and started thinking about all the great writing done by local Finger Lakes Times columnists. They so often write about really important things and with such clarity and knowledge. I began to feel self-conscious about my frequent homel…

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I realize not everyone likes dogs. Some people prefer cats, some birds. Some get along with plants, while others keep fish. I get it — or at least intellectually I accept it. But really, a dog ...

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A haze of white flakes pelted my face with the temperature in the teens on Monday morning. Dog and I leaned in against the wind as March roared like a lion with 40 mph wind gusts. By mid-morning I could see sun and blue trying to peel away the shroud of gray. They didn’t succeed. If the app …

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I grew up in a Midwestern rust belt college town about the size of Utica. When I was young, the assembly lines were humming — Westinghouse, Borg Warner (transmissions), steel wire, glass, auto parts, even slaughterhouses and other agricultural-related industries. In those days, it was closer…

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Earth is a single cell in the body of something so vast we can’t even imagine it. All we can do is stutter the word “God.”

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I was an adjunct professor for five years and taught an introduction to the primal narratives in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As it turned out, for some students it was also a writing boot camp.

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How are we to think about the world we live in just now? How can we incorporate all the dire information coming at us from different directions, and still make sense of the wonderful close-in world of the Finger Lakes?

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You have heard of the Bermuda Triangle, where ships and planes mysteriously disappear? Well, I am momentarily lost in a time-distance triangle.

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After the Super Bowl I felt like a cultural expatriate, an unsophisticated untouchable nebbish. So I went to Facebook, wondering what people I knew were posting about it. I scrolled down, down, down but not one post about the Super Bowl. That alone says a lot about my bubble.

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I was going to write about America falling apart at the seams (a la David Brooks, The New York Times, Jan. 13), but then it snowed.

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Something Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in 1943 has been haunting my thoughts as this latest wave of Covid-Delta-Omicron-Whatever pandemic rolls in.

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My dog is a show-off. Every morning, when I roll out my yoga mat and begin a stretching and exercise routine, she saunters over and performs a pluperfect Downward Facing Dog. She usually does it parallel to whichever direction I am facing so that I can’t miss her exquisite form.

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It takes four days for the impregnated cell to reach the uterus, then multiply from one cell to eight to a hundred. Two weeks more and those cells multiply and become layered in concentric circles like a tiny labyrinth: The inside layer will become the respiratory and digestive systems — bre…

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When I was young, I went to camp in southern Indiana. If you have only driven across the middle of the state on I-70 then you likely think the state is flat-on-flat cornfields. But the southern third is a hilly slide toward the Ohio River.

Now that we are safely bedded down between Thanksgiving and Christmas, not too close to either one to feel like a killjoy, allow me to share a fear with you. “Fear” may be a misnomer because I am not afraid so much as expectant, attentive, and resolved.

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Outside, the plow is scrapping 2 inches of snow off the road. My sidewalk required shoveling this morning too. In short, winter has arrived in our small corner of the world.

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Thank you. Just thank you. “My work is loving the world … ” Mary Oliver begins her poem, “Messenger.” It is worth looking up for a Thanksgiving reflection.

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I once worked among 50,000 students and 25,000 faculty and staff on the campus of a major university. The church where I worked was the only non-university building on campus. You would think, with the crush of thousands constantly circulating around us, communicating would be a cinch.

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Who are the most fearful people in America? Can you guess? Let’s see if your instinct was correct.

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It always comes back to this, as Mary Oliver wrote. Nature, the power of its voice.

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Science is not synonymous with truth and the law does not mean justice. The assertions of politicians to “follow the science” and raising expectations for the courts to mediate justice have only contributed to the loss of credibility for each. Hysteria about “fake news” becomes plausible whe…

It has been a beautiful autumn so far. Record warmth has postponed peak foliage around much of upstate and the Adirondacks. Autumn is the flamboyant show of nature that makes living here rather than Florida or Arizona worth it to many of us.

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The columnist David Brooks got religion. That’s not a metaphor. Sometime in the last few years he had a religious awakening and it sure has changed what he writes about.

... All health care workers in New York State, at hospitals and nursing homes, are to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the first dose received by Monday, September 27, and staff at other covered entities ... by October 7.

My neighbor’s black-eyed Susans are still vibrant. Their round black eyes are bigger now, bulging out from yellow faces. But that chroma of yellow! No human-concocted hue comes close to that screaming lemon-mango-egg yolk-citrine gift of Mother Nature.

Why shouldn’t there be a vaccination passport required for entry? Why shouldn’t health care employees, service employees, or any employee for that matter, not be required to get vaccinated?

This is not about Afghanistan. If you’ve been watching any national news channels then you would think the only thing going on in the world is in Afghanistan. If you watch national sports channels, it would seem the only things worth talking about are Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.

There is no way to break this to you gently. Our country is sick with individualism. A little bit doesn’t cause a problem, but when it becomes predominant, militant even, then it is a mental illness. The American cultural ethos of go-it-alone and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps is a delu…

This is the mouth of all seasons, a delta formed by the rivers of spring and summer that at the same time opens into the bay of autumn. August is the womb of memories from childhood swimming holes, to cold watermelon on hot days, to wind in the hair of convertible rides. Fingers of sun trace…

I marvel at my neighbor’s dog, Harold. I noticed the other day that he was sitting in the sun at the edge of the carport, unleashed, as his owner worked on his boat. “Huh,” I thought to myself, “Rabia would never just stay there like that.”

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, a blank page is merciless. Most of the time it is like a voice calling from the ether with an invitation to speak. In other words, generous. Today though, it was purse lipped and guarded.

Chances are you don’t care about this. In fact, there is almost a one in four chance you don’t care about this. That is the percentage of “NONES” in the country. “Nones” is a pollsters category that lumps atheists, agnostics, and unaffiliated believers together.