New Year’s Eve

What a year it’s been. I haven’t kept up my blog as well as I meant to; grad school is hard, etc etc etc.

The news I’m linking to on this post are highlights from the past several months that I think are worth checking out and spending some time with. First, though, I just wanted to put out into the world that I am entering 2018 with hope. There are lots of terrible things happening on our national stage that will take a long time to recover from, and some things that we might never get back [like some national monuments, for example]. But there are good things that are happening, too. Just a few examples: the national conversation on sexual assault and harassment, the record number of women running for office (including my aunt!), the teen pregnancy rate dropping to a record low, having decreased 67% since I was born in 1991. In my personal life, I can cite countless examples of people who are working to make their communities better places to live, extending generosity and kindness to their neighbors. And there are reports of what I can only call delight and joy: 115 new species identified and named this year from the Greater Mekong region (the world is always more infinite and varied than we dream); the first gene therapy for inherited blindness was approved by the FDA; some crazy physics done on data gathered from neutron stars.

I was reminded this Advent that we live in expectation and hope — perhaps wandering through the dark, but never alone.

Poppies
Mary Oliver

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?


 

End of year highlights (a few have been mentioned on this blog previously):

 

mclaughlin

(source) :: John McLaughlin = former acting director of CIA; Michael Hayden = former director of CIA and NSA.

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