Sanctuaries are so important — even in First World lives where aggravations go to comfort and not survival.

The piercing beeping of trucks in reverse and the roar of playground grass maintenance started at 7:30. That would be immediately after I sat down in the cool peace of our deck to write. Even inside, with all windows closed and headphones on, I thought I would jump out of my skin. It didn’t help knowing that in another hour, two house construction jobs within a stone’s throw of my driveway would get going. So, I got in the car and drove around.

Aimless escape of this kind is a luxury since Finn came to live with us. I drove around in part because I could — it’s a doggie play date day (oy – talk about First World) but also because I couldn’t think of a place nearby that I wanted to occupy. Peets is crowded, always. Our town library is not reliably quiet. The coffee shop in Newtonville — also rarely has an empty seat.

And then I remembered my alma mater: Boston College Law School.  A minute or two from the house. With a beautiful, clean, QUIET and nearly empty library. Wow. Wow.

Greeted first by Saint Thomas More and then by a Ruth McDowell quilt, then entering a wing donated by the law firm I used to work at, there was a sense of homecoming (even if I did not feel at home at that law firm for a single minute of my tenure there and even though this library was built after I graduated).

Something curious went on just before noon. Maybe because I was recently ‘followed’ on twitter by a Massachusetts ACLU lawyer, maybe because last night I watched a talk he gave at the Center for Constitutional Rights on YouTube (Carl Williams) and was really inspired, and maybe because when at 11:55 I got up to chant the Lotus Sutra for Mike Brown, for Mike Brown’s family, for all the BLM activists on the front lines, and even for the dumbbells who don’t understand that racial justice benefits each and every one of us, I was tempted into pulling a directory off the shelf that just happened to be at eye level.



I don’t even remember what you had to do to qualify for the Order, but I know it was kind of a bid deal. It was a weird and unexpected pleasure to reclaim this part of my life, even if temporarily and for no other purpose but to notice.

I’ll leave you with a little law school humor, lest you conclude I am spending all my sanctuary time on social media!

5 thoughts on “Refuge

  1. Mo Crow

    when I was an idealistic 17 year old I dreamed of being a lawyer & upholding the rights of the downtrodden but my already addled brain would never have managed the rigorous course work, just as well I eventually finished art school after three goes over a wild 16 years…

    1. deemallon

      interesting. I never would have guessed! I didn’t go to law school until I had worked for six years, so it was sort of a relief to be back in school… the structure, the flexibility with my time, the challenge of study (which I enjoyed. It was just the practice I never quite warmed up to).

  2. saskia

    haha, I noticed a sign in the toilet the other day where they requested you not to throw anything other than toiletpaper in the loo, got me thinking (not for long) about what we were actually supposed to do then to relieve ourselves…..

    1. deemallon

      Yes sometimes these signs say things they don’t really mean for a fun dose of unintended humor. This was obviously intended.


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