A lithe fawn leaps from within a New England winter’s hilltop brambles across a pebbled clearing for sanctuary from snowy maples, oaks and elms.

Having waved its tail while showing heels, the safe fawn spins and stares. Its friend, I smile. A blessed minute gifts us. I feel grateful that the fawn seems unafraid.

Then with an ice skater’s grace it turns and disappears. It wants no part of our so-called civilized world. Could humanity disabuse itself of wars with their cascading cycles of side-taking, side-slamming and the competitive extremities of victimhood and retribution?

An urge to follow the fawn takes hold. My boots stand firm in soil. I know my place though from it I have little reach. You practiced what you preached about confronting injustice, students affirmed as nineteen years of teaching history concluded.

But while humanity lives through cycles of advance and regression with hope and despair our species learns little, adept with technology yet primitive and barbaric at the arts of getting along.

City Hall will shine blue light for Israel, the local press informs, a one-sided well-meant act. A Jew by choice, my heart cries out for the ancestral land’s terror dead and hostage victims, with ample room to mourn misery along the West Bank and in Gaza.

Why no green symbolic beam as a ceasefire’s summons followed by long-term work toward a forever end to the normalcy of war? The binary choice of sides that the public sphere demands ill-serves the common good that is our collective’s sole salvation.


Michael McQuillan, former US Senate legislative aide and Peace Corps Volunteer honored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Brooklyn Council of Churches, taught history and chaired the NYPD Training Advisory Council’s Race Subcommittee. Ravens Perch, Tikkun, The Write Launch and Covid Rebels 21 Poets Anthology have published him.