There are invisible strings, hundreds and thousands of them, that run back deep into our childhoods - Lincoln's "mystic chords of memory," if you will - and often you don't know that one exists until something happens to pluck it. Madeleine L'Engle is dead, at eighty-eight: I never got very deep into anything she wrote except the Time trilogy and its companion volume, Many Waters, but those books I probably read six times each at least, and the string her death plucked has been vibrating in my mind all day - for Charles Wallace and Meg Murray and Calvin O'Keefe and Mrs. Whatsit, but also for the child I was when I encountered her books, the near-yet-faraway past in which I read and then re-read them. For John Podhoretz, whose building she lived in when he was a boy, the chord is thicker, the note stronger. If you loved her books, go read his tribute.
The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?