I’ve been spending time looking at a familiar scene from childhood. An oil painting of a red covered bridge surrounded by lush greens and sunny yellows of trees and grasses, a tranquil scene of suburban Pennsylvania where my family lived.

The painting hangs in the Los Angeles apartment where my 86-year-old mother is now. She doesn’t remember the bridge. She often doesn’t remember me, usually thinking I am her older sister, not her middle daughter. Alzheimer’s has blurred mom’s memory, blending people, places and events in unfamiliar ways.

As I write this in mom’s bright living room, looking up at…


COVID. George Floyd. Unrest. Unemployment. Since the pandemic hit, it’s felt like a near-constant state of siege.

David Motzenbecker knows what that’s like. On a recent podcast he said, “Right now … we are all in a state of constant low-level fight or flight stress. Our bodies are drip, drip, drip with cortisol, stress hormones, all the time with this low-level stress and that’s causing a lot of bad health problems for everyone.”

Motzenbecker has a remedy. He’s not a doctor or therapist. He’s a landscape architect who works full time as a forest guide. …


Minneapolis vigil opposing Kavanaugh

Once again, the Senate is choosing to ignore a credible woman and reward an angry man.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford quietly told her painful truth, just as Anita Hill had twenty-seven years earlier. And just as Clarence Thomas lashed out in fury, so too did Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate, then and now, shrugged its shoulders, and let the bullying men have their way.

It’s likely that by Saturday, two of the six male justices on our country’s highest court, will have faced credible accusations of sex harassment or assault. How supreme is that?

The Senate is siding with Kavanaugh to…


Read this book!

What does it mean to be from a place? Always Another Country, Sisonke Msimang’s memoir of exile and home tells the story of a “little girl who cried every time it was time to leave for another country.”

The daughter of a guerilla fighter forced to flee his native South Africa and a Swazi mother, Msimang grew up in Zambia, Kenya and Canada before coming to the U.S. to attend Macalester College. It’s not until after graduation that Msimang moves to her ‘home’ country, South Africa, where she realizes “that I look like I belong but I don’t.”

Throughout her…


Like you, I am a parent of two. I saw your wife and daughters at your confirmation hearing, and I thought about my husband and sons.

Sixteen years ago, when our boys were young, I chose to have an abortion, I’m going public about what had been a private family decision because of you.

I’m driven by a sober sense of urgency, fearing that your impending confirmation will tip the Supreme Court and lead to restrictions or a ban on abortion. I worry some states will severely curtail abortion. …


The cover was black, with a barely visible dark gray masthead. All that stood out were nine simple words.

Thirty years ago, we could have saved the planet.

That sentence sums up the cover story — the only story — in the August 1st issue of The New York Times Magazine.

I didn’t read Nathaniel Rich’s Losing Earth when it was first published. I thought I knew about climate change.

Weeks later, on a westbound flight to LA, I started reading. …


I didn’t plan to quit.

One night when my boss yelled at me, I’d had enough. I stood up, grabbed my bag and rushed past a suddenly silent newsroom. I walked outside, stunned. Did I just quit? What was I thinking? Should I go back and apologize? No. No, I can’t go back.

I was 24, a newspaper copy editor. Journalism was my dream. As editor of my high school and college papers, I had mapped my path as a newspaper reporter and later a columnist. Step one was this newspaper copy desk, where I’d been for a year.

I…


Angel Island’s immigration station, where more than 300,000 Chinese immigrants were detained.

We still don’t know how many immigrant families this administration has ripped apart, or if they’ll ever be reunited. It’s not the first time our government has wielded policy against people based on their ethnicity and home countries. A century ago, instead of barring Mexicans and other Latinos, America set about excluding Chinese people.

Their story starts in San Francisco Bay, not far from Alcatraz, America’s most notorious prison, now a popular tourist destination. Tucked around the bay, stands a less celebrated place of history, Angel Island.

Named by a Spanish explorer, this idyllic spot became an American immigration detention…


It’s been four days after Sante Fe, Texas, the latest school shooting. Ninety-seven days after Parkland. We’ve had so many mass shootings, we rely on a Joe Friday, staccato shorthand to describe the indescribable.

Sante Fe, May 2018, 10 killed, 13 injured

Parkland, Feb 2018, 17 killed, 17 injured

Sutherland Springs, Nov 2017, 26 killed, 20 injured

Las Vegas, Oct 2017, 58 killed, 851 injured

Pulse nightclub, June 2016, 49 killed, 53 injured

Sandy Hook, Dec. 2012, 26 killed, 2 injured

Since Sandy Hook, we’ve had 1,686 mass shootings in the U.S., with 1,941 deaths and 7,104 people injured, according…

Kate Havelin

Explore Twin Cities Outdoors is the newest of my 19 books, which also include 16 biographies and other nonfiction for middle and high school readers.

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