The Perils of Patronization

That was quite the brouhaha during the Democratic presidential candidates debate the other night, when Elizabeth Warren mounted a seemingly choreographed attack against Bernie Sanders in response to a CNN report released a few days before the debate. In it, Warren alleged that Sanders had told her during a 2018 meeting that a woman could not be elected president. That led to the CNN panelist’s no-doubt eager follow-up question, given Sanders’s vociferous denials that he had said any such thing.

Oh boy, the prospect of fireworks and sniping, sneers, shouting and clenched jaws! (The entire series of debates having been entirely too civil for most media observers’ tastes.)

Warren didn’t disappoint, either during the kerfuffle over the Sanders comment or in the moment’s immediate aftermath...

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At the Butterfly House

The mere thought—a museum facility for butterflies?—tickles the imagination. Especially so in the depths of January, the dark season of grudging light, offering back mere seconds daily toward the far-off abundance of spring.

But here it is, just blocks from my home, tucked in among the boundless trees, a wintry oasis of heat and humidity and the seemingly aimless flapping of wings, their bearers zigging and zagging through the weighty air, all sublime brilliance and self-possession, a purity of jazz in flight, never missing a beat…

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I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. —Chuang Tzu

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Love is like a butterfly: It goes where it pleases and pleases wherever it goes.—Anonymous

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Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. —Muhammad Ali

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As my love gave chase to a butterfly/ So did I give chase to love/ Now here ...

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The Turning Year in Poem and Song

The great earth spins, morning to night and back again, season upon season, the eternal return, its unalterable rhythm punctuated in the days of our own lives by our scurryings after food and drink, fun and rapture and love. The lives we make are all our own, yet beneath each one, a Great Commonality, a stickiness to others, all others, across all space and time, who harbor near-identical needs, dreams, longings, and questions of the night.

Below, a poem reflecting that commonality, the universal rhythms and rituals of our daily lives, given perspective and focus at this turning of the year, the turning of a hand toward another, the turning of the shovel as we lay a beloved to rest, the turning to light as the winter solstice recedes and spring beckons us anew.

All the best to you, my friends, in 2020.

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                   THE YEAR

By Ellen Wheeler Wilcox (1910)

What can be said in New Year ...

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Two Popes Make for One Great Movie

Early in the current Netflix release, “The Two Popes,” I recalled the outlandish, unexpected success of “My Dinner With Andre,” Louis Malle’s 1981 film featuring two guys talking—and talking, and talking, for 111 minutes—across a café table in Manhattan. That was pretty much it as far as plot and characters go, but oh, what glorious talk it was.

Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles’s “The Two Popes” features quite a bit more dramatic backdrop and tension than did Malle’s film, but in its essence, it’s a kind of intellectually, theologically combative buddy movie that features two marvelously gifted (and hard-working!) actors reveling in sometimes solemn, sometimes fierce, and often enough humorous, even tender dialogue about matters of great import to themselves, their church, and the world beyond.

Two Welsh actors do virtually all the lifting required by producer and writer Anthony...

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Seventh Annual Holiday Photo Gallery

I’ve noticed something of late: In both my work and my blogging life, I pore over so many thousands of photographs through the course of a day and a year that I have sometimes begun to feel jaded and not all that impressed. “Another 9,000-shades-of-orange sunset, yawn…”

That of course, is when I need to give myself a not-so-slight whack on the head with my vintage edition of “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,” and remind myself—yet again, and again—how truly magnificent the world is, and how much we owe to photographers who help us see and think about it more attentively, with greater appreciation for its depth and breadth, detail and wonder.

So! Welcome to Traversing’s Seventh Annual Holiday Photo Gallery, guaranteed to bring you, if not great luck and fortune, at least a smile and, I trust, an involuntary “Wow!” and “Ooh!” or two. The pixels, please…

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Good to the Last Drop, by Joel Valve

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Cootie and C...

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