Tis the season of mysteries. What’s wrapped under the tree? Which liquor spiked the eggnog? Who will surprise us with a sudden yet abiding kindness? For the devout, mysteries underlie faith—the miracle of lights that burn throughout Hanukkah, the divine birth of Jesus under the light of a star, the burning Yule logs celebrating the…

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When I was attending a regional middle school in rural Maine, I wanted to work for the United Nations. It seemed cool—the building’s international design, the New York City setting, the languages, the people of different colors from diverse countries, the mission. At the time, I was enduring mean-girl culture. Snip-snap, realign, re-friend, repeat. Maybe…

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  That crop duster. The cornfield. Watch it. Isolated at home during the Covid-19 pandemic and a dreary rainy spell, I watched in Technicolor glory Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest. Its lumens were intensified by the star power of Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason. Cinematic thrills when my day was…

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The internet seems a custom fit for the adolescent brain: it is instantly receptive to impulses, secrets told beyond the hearing of adults, silly truth or dare games. Adolescents can find through social media the paradoxical assurance that a) no one has ever felt the way they do, they’re special; b) someone else has felt…

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