Monthly Archives October 2015

On Data Loss, Fresh Starts, and Grace

So I woke up yesterday morning and all the data on my IPhone had been erased, wiped clean.

“Hello!” it said as I gazed at the screen after leaving it the previous evening performing what was purported to be a standard update of my operating system.

That “Hello” (in umpteen languages!) had an eerie chill to it, as if if I had just removed a new phone from the box. All my contacts, apps, photos, recent messages, emails, notes and audio memos to myself from my walks—gone, emptied, pffft…

Catastrophe, of course. Or at least a modern, pampered, affluenza-infected version of one.

Hours later, those hours having been spent on tech support with helpful but only half-clued in reps from our better phone companies and smartphone manufacturers, I managed to get all my data back from the cloud, lose it all again when launching iTunes a bit later, then regained about 70 percent of it once more, though all th...

Read More

Two Moon Poems: New and Full

The full moon tends to get all the best press and draw the most eyeballs and adulation, but for my money, the new moon (or at least the “new moon + 1 day”; more on that below) is every bit as worthy of our regard.

The full moon represents abundance, being topped out, awash and abursting, like the universal mother with breasts so full of milk she cannot bear to move another inch until she drains them into the avid awaiting mouths of her children.

The full moon lights up the entire earth; we must remain deep in shadow if we are to avoid its glare (as if we’d ever want to, unless we’re a burglar or thug).

But the new moon, that mere sliver of hope, is everything that abundance and fullness are not. Spare and subtle, it allows the stars top billing, encouraging their shine and prominence on the cosmic stage, generous to a fault...

Read More

On the Joys and Virtues of Competition

Competition, as we know from Darwin, is built into the very fabric of existence. At a baseline level, it’s been all-out war from day one among plants and animals who compete fiercely for food sources, water, and the sunlight that helps them grow.

Nothing symbolic about this competition: If you’re a plant, you need to claim your little piece of soil and sun and cling to it with utter tenacity. If you’re an animal, you either succeed in escaping predators and tracking down prey or plant food for your daily sustenance, or you die.

Nature is very unforgiving. It merely shrugs as all living things navigate the carnage of daily competitive existence.

Darwin sketched a scenario of remarkable creativity and cunning as living things learn from and adapt to the forces trying to eliminate them...

Read More

Six Takeaways From Watching a Conversation Among the Deaf

I had occasion to watch a quintet of deaf people have a little social gathering at my neighborhood pool one afternoon last week. Though they also used their voices and formed words, it quickly became evident that their intense and ongoing gesturing with their hands was not due to a common Italian heritage.

Though I could make out an occasional word from where I sat at only a slight remove from them, their speech was not quite clear and it was apparent that they were complementing their verbalization with sign language (or vice versa, actually). I felt a bit like a voyeur as I subtly gazed their way while otherwise keeping my nose in a book, but writers being natural voyeurs, I wallowed in virtually zero guilt as I took note of the following:

1. A couple of people arrived with small ice chests and bags out of which they produced plentiful food and drink...

Read More