Guest Commentary

Beware the three-horned dodo

Recently, I had a close call with serious injury because of a thoughtless driver. These two ancient references immediately came to mind. I will amend them both at the end of my tale.

First: Euclid, the great ancient geometer, famously said to a king having difficulty with his attempt to learn geometry, “There is no royal road to learning geometry.” 

Second: The Roman Empire was celebrated for its network of roads that linked all to Rome, i.e., “All roads lead to Rome.”

After 9/11, a return to normalcy — almost



Sept. 14 — On Friday I took my two cats and some books and left New York for our house in the country. More than anything else I wanted to be away from the stress and the noise and to be in the one spot on earth that is most profoundly home to me. And yet, when the train left 125th Street in Harlem and crossed the bridge to the Bronx and upstate New York, I felt deep sadness, as if I was abandoning a much beloved and wounded animal — I love this city like no other.

9/11 was followed by a day of ghostly silence

Part II


Sept. 12 — I woke up early because of the deadly quiet outside; there were no screaming sirens, no car horns, nothing — I wondered about that silence and worried that this was a very bad sign — that it meant that there were no survivors being transported to the hospitals in the neighborhood.

The puzzling tale of the alien rabbit and the hawk

Something happened in my backyard a while ago, and I’ve been thinking about it off and on ever since. My husband and I were sitting outside, late in the day, finishing dinner and polishing off the last of the wine. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a hawk down at the end of our lawn, struggling to lift a limp rabbit off the ground.

9-11 remembered: A look back on darker days

Part I


September 11, 2001 — Having overslept that morning, I hurried to get ready for work without turning on the radio or slowing down to have breakfast. It must have been close to nine o’clock when I came downstairs in the lobby of our apartment building, where I found a group of people excitedly talking about an airplane that had flown into the World Trade Center, a terrible accident that caused a major fire in one of the tall buildings downtown.  

Black bears are here to stay

There are many misconceptions lingering throughout the Northwest Corner about the appearance of black bears. It is obvious that the population of the species has significantly increased within the last several years. I will explain why the population is increasing, the history of black bears, the importance of the species in our ecosystem and solutions for the increased interactions with humans.

The Doggerland-Foggy Bottom connection

In September 1931, while fishing off the Norfolk coast, Pilgrim Lockwood, skipper of a British fishing trawler, hauled up a net from the sea bed which, beneath the thrashing cod, held what proved to be a key to the ancient past of the North Sea. It was a chunk of dark brown peat, within which was lodged the barbed tip of a harpoon carved from a red deer antler. 

Speaking up for students speaking out

For years, I’ve heard complaints about millennials being too coddled to care about what’s happening except on their screens. So it’s curious to me that there is now complaint about activism on college campuses. 

Haunting memories of Gallipoli, lingering effects of the Great War

I read with interest the article on World War I remembrance in the May 18 issue of The Lakeville Journal, and Heather Chapman’s fine letter in the June 1 issue. She questioned some points in the article, and described her father’s war experience. 

Among other things, Henry Chapman served and was wounded in the Gallipoli campaign. It is extraordinary that we can thus be connected to this foreboding and long forgotten battlefield, on the other side of the globe, by the father of a neighbor in Falls Village.