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Sunday May 30, 2021
The big picture only hits home when it becomes the small picture. That’s why movie makers show you the big picture--of thousands of foot soldiers surging up a hill, for example--and then zoom in to show the tension visible on a single face.
After 14 months of daily pandemic statistics, the big picture of daily COVID-19 statistics goes over my head like distant thunder.
Until Wednesday of this week.
When my daughter tested positive.
Suddenly, COVID-19 has stopped being a big picture and has become intensely personal.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: daughter, COVID-19, personal
Thursday May 20, 2021
When the west wind blows across the lake, it has to rise when it hits the cliffs along the eastern shore.
The other day, I watched a cabal of crows dancing in that upwards rush of air.
Traditionally, a collection of crows is called a “murder”. I don’t like that term. I suspect it was coined by someone who disliked crows, who shot them whenever he could.
“Cabal,” to my mind, better fits crows’ mischievous nature. It’s also alliterative.
This particular cabal put on quite a performance.
I found myself envying their mastery of the invisible element they lived in.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Crows, dancing
Sunday May 23, 2021
I wonder if any country on earth has seen more consistent violence than Palestine/Israel. Or is it just that we know more about the endless conflicts there, thanks to the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings in the Bible?
Wars against the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Moabites … In one appalling passage, God commands genocide against the Amalekites – men, women, children, livestock, even pets.
Also wars between the sons of Jacob. One act of revenge so totally exterminated the tribe of Benjamin that the other tribes had to volunteer some of their own members to recreate Benjamin for posterity.
In Jesus’ time, the region was an irritating pimple on Rome’s backside. Other conquered nations accepted the inevitable, got on with business, and profited from the Pax Romana. But Rome had to constantly crush Hebrew rebellions. Protestant Bibles conveniently leave out the grisly saga of the Maccabees, but tourists line up to visit the final defeat at Masada.
Tags: Bible, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
A few columns ago, I wrote that I had great optimism about individuals, but pessimism about humanity as a whole.
But a reader told me that my concept contained an inherent contradiction. Humanity as a whole is made up of individuals. Logically, therefore, I cannot be optimistic about individuals without also being optimistic about the whole. And vice versa.
I can’t agree. There are discontinuities in everything. Transitions, where one reality morphs into another.
And you never know exactly where, or how, those discontinuities occur.
Tags: Transitions, discontinuities