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When fear of death overwhelms you, take a close look at your life. I learned that years ago, and I’m willing to do it now. But this sense of danger can’t be reduced to psychology. Two and a half months after the October 1989 earthquake, the seismographs registered 105 tremors in one wee…

The Path of God

My current landlord is an atheist; he rejects outright my theological propositions. He does his best to counter my cosmology, speaking of logical fallacies, and asserts instead a kind of humanist worldview, elevating man alone to creator, redeemer, savior. But he ignores the central matter of faith…


Late one night teenagers drape the oak trees in the front yard with toilet paper, a benign suburban ritual. Clara watches from the guest room window and thinks she sees Nazi soldiers. She sits up all night, too terrified to wake us or to move. The next morning on the way to the airport, I reassure …

A Rescue

I pushed myself back against the rock and felt around for a handhold. When I finally got myself anchored and half turned around, the first thing I spotted, not two feet from my face, was the shoe of Manny Spaggot: one dirty old sneaker all by itself upside down on the ledge.