01 Object (new): a new object that held significance
You can make the universe from a single black sheet of construction paper.
02 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
Plate. I found an old Amish farmer’s plate in a junk shop and it’s very simple. Two hundred years ago or today we are all struggling to solve the same basic problems, like how to keep the ants out of our food.
03 Utility: describe an occasion when you felt useful.
Yesterday, I passed on a simple logistical legal approach to help a person who was struggling to find sustainable work due to our country’s rules and regulations. A useful idea.
04 Story: What’s the best story you heard?
Nanchuan and the cat.
“We are all cut in two of course. That’s living in this world of discrimination and difference. I am me; therefore, I am not you. But we are also cut in one, only we don’t know it.”
Another telling of the story:
“This world holds up living cats every moment and asks for our response. There is no escape from this.”
A third telling, “Nanzen Kills a Cat” by the Van Pelt.
“This is the absurdity by which we walk barefoot with shoes on our heads.”
05 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
I ran for miles in a forest where no one would find me. Picked off a piece of tree bark, tasted it, thought maybe I could live here. So now I live on a deep ravine with deer, birds, and badgers. It’s quiet. Nature has a big voice and I can hear her more clearly now. The weather, plants, and animals do their thing every day… sing, rain, colors, flowers. After years of living in seasonless Los Angeles, a place with true seasons is a beautiful show!
06 Minor secrets: Describe something you did in secret.
- Negotiated with the universe.
- Communed with the dead.
- Said thank you to everyone at once.
- Said thank you again.
- Also: very good at making up songs to sing in the shower.
07 Proportion: A specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe; that you are part of a greater whole
In the house there is a garden room. Sitting in the atrium, you can look into the oak trees up above. My dad and I were sitting on the sofa in the atrium, eating snacks. We looked up and spotted a squirrel in the oak tree looking down at us, eating seeds. It was a moment. Eventually, this big wooden house will fall into the ravine. The trees will grow around the wooden walls. The seeds and the squirrels will come again. The constant change!
I’m trying to build my relationship to change. I’m trying to balance the constant, selfish desire of my future idea of “self” with a healthy non-attachment and honest awareness of the present moment “self”; the house is not the thing, my home is any city, all people are my family. I don’t know how any of it’s going to turn out, and I honestly don’t mind it doesn’t! I’m grateful for the fact that I even get to try.
08 What was missing last month?
A day with no digital!
09 Culture: A list of front-burner interests from the last month
- “The Big Flat Now” 032c
- “Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs” by Sally Mann
- The Ohio River Valley. As a person who spent half a lifetime chasing New York, Brooklyn, and L.A., the Midwest is entirely new to me and seems like a best-kept secret.