Stop & Count Our Blessings

The snow came overnight, the first real blanket of white this year. It arrived with the Winter Solstice as if some weather fairy took pity on us for the earthy brown we’ve sullenly marched past the last month. “Minnesotans need this to be in the mood,” the fairy must have said, and made the grey air clump up solid and sprinkle down.

It has been that kind of year. Normal people would be thankful for the warmth, but those who are used to magic expect more than a climate of easy survival. The cold is supposed to invigorate the northern world, bringing a stinging cheer which says, “Keep it moving, you have work to do!”

The rest of this season said to us, “It’s dark, it’s wet, it’s time for a nap. It’s time to stop.” And now, with the sprinkle of white melting around the edges, we will shortly.

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Patriotism

This is a piece first run for the election four years ago, updated a bit for today.

Election Day is not a national holiday, at least not in the traditional sense. But it is the one day that our nation asks something from all of us, even if it’s just a few minutes. If you follow calle ocho through Little Havana in Miami on Election Day, you’ll see a long line houses with the red white and blue of US and Cuban flags stretching off into the horizon. Families sometimes come together across generations, as with any holiday, before they go off to vote. Cuban exiles in Miami are a people that know what it means to be free because freedom and good times are often best measured against their opposite.

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