Crickets Sleeping

I’m waiting for tonight and we’ll make a fire and sit outside enjoying the summer sounds

Me, yesterday

When do crickets go to sleep

In the nights, in August
we have the sounds of crickets
telling us the temperature they say

In the morning, while still dark it is silent
they, the crickets, have gone to sleep
I’ve tried to stay up and listen for them to sleep
going silent bit by bit

but I can’t
they are there when I sleep and gone when I awake
even early, at 3:00
when do they stop, and go to sleep

Your History

Forgotten a bunch of it? The question does not apply to those under 40. For the rest of us, with lots of things to remember, how’s the memory going? 

I was going through my photo collection. There was a collection of what we got on the farm share. There was a time when I photographed t-shirts because I could limit myself to black, beer t-shirts and I had too many. Of course, there’s a collection of photos for each trip, Mexico, Bali, Beijing, La Manga and Barcelona, and another to Buenos Aries and Bogota. There was a collection of photos for FredFest and feet and just wandering around.

I started to create a personal history of just photography. And then there’s looking at the images. Who has enough wall space to hang up all the memories?

When I get done with that, or done enough, I’ll work on another history. Like my scar collection. Or my bicycling. Or my whatever I can make a list of. So I can remember.

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Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Fight or Flight, That’s the recognized responses to “perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” How was freeze left out of the discussion?

You’re familiar with “deer in the headlights”? Maybe you’ve seen one. Perhaps you’ve seen another animal, a rabbit maybe, frozen, waiting. A flight may follow, but freeze comes first.

Perhaps, also, you’ve seen people in high-stress situations just curl up. They follow the path of no-action as a response to the harmful event or perceived threat.

Why this doesn’t get more recognition and attention is a mystery to me.

Stoic Humor?

Stoicism is getting some attention in contemporary US culture. It is a widely misunderstood philosophy. A daily email, Daily Stoic, provides short observations on Stoicism. Today’s email included this clarification.

One criticism of Stoicism and its emphasis on our ability to control our responses to events is that some reactions really are out of our control. If it gets cold, you’ll shiver. If you hear a loud enough noise, it will startle you. Sure, training can reduce some of this but we are biological creatures. No amount of mental discipline will neutralize a dump of adrenaline or prevent a reflex.

This criticism is often used to dismiss Stoicism…as if the Stoics hadn’t thought about that already. In fact, Seneca readily acknowledges that we will have involuntary reactions to things. He talks at some length about the distinction between motus (our impulses) and affectus (our passions).

Say some stranger comes up and strikes you. You’re going to have a reaction. You might duck. You might throw your hands up. You might even impulsively strike them back. There will be very little thinking involved in any of it. Stoicism is not primarily concerned with those involuntary and immediate reactions. The decision to hate this attacker forever? Being afraid to go outside? Plotting some disproportionate revenge? Those are dangerous passions—passions that are in your control. That’s what Stoicism is about.
~ The Daily Stoic email for January 18, 2018

To which I reply:

Say you have a terrible hangover from tequila. You might attempt to sleep it off, to take aspirin, to moan loudly in your discomfort. The decision to hate tequila forever? Being afraid to go drink again? Plotting temperance advocacy? Those are dangerous passions—passions that are in your control. That’s what Stoicism is about.
~ that voice in my head

Does Stoic humor exist?

Should It Look Nice?

While I was in Art school we debated whether photographs of disturbing subjects could or should be beautiful objects. One strong example arguing for this was Brian Fesseden’s Water in the West series. In Brian’s words “A photographic essay focusing on rivers, dams, and the environmental cost of the human expansion of the West.” He opposed the building of dams due to their negative environmental impact. One image hauntingly showed a still fully leafed out tree submerged and drowning in a newly formed lake. The print was gorgeous. Richly toned, beautifully composed, aside from the drowning tree the full scene was bucolic and peaceful. Was it right, we discussed, to make such a beautiful image of such a distressing subject? Would the beauty of the print lull people into supporting the activities the photographer was intending to oppose? Shouldn’t ugly subjects have congruent ugly art depicting them? In the school a large punk population raging against society served as living counterpoint to Brian’s work.

Those questions remain. You can experience the ongoing discussion in the arts and social expressions of the world around you.

This subject comes to mind as we start watching American Gods. Jennifer was not interested. She’s seen reviews objecting to the levels of, to the reviewer, gratuitous violence. Recent viewing of Black Mirror had brought enough physical and psychic violence into our lives. I persisted. The novel by Neil Gaiman is excellent. I had vague memories that the TV series was faithful. It is.

Yes, there is violence. Some, like the reception Nordic seamen receive on the beach of a new island, is even humorous. (sorry, no spoilers from me) But, but!, the visuals of the violent acts are so stunningly beautiful that one can easily suspend revulsion at axes splitting skulls, a lynching, and so on. The producers of the series are not attempting to effect social change. They are telling a story of mythic characters fighting for survival. The beautified violence fits. And, to this eye, does not offend.

Frightful Thought

From The Art of Manliness,

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!'” –Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

TAoM asks: How would you live if you were to repeat this life, as it is lived this time, over and over again for eternity?

This is frightful. How does the prospect strike you?

So you don’t get lost

I’ve been reflecting on So you don’t get lost in the neighborhood, a novel by French author Patrick Modiano. What seemed a quiet tale is revealed as a gripping mystery.

This mystery unfolds at a languid pace. A lost address book is found. The finder would like to return it in person. Oh, and he has questions about one of the entries.  Lies are uncovered and memories restored. Jean Daragane is disturbed and removed from his life of total solitude in his Paris apartment. He searches out people from his past. It ends in a place that puts the reader on a cliff of unknowns.

So you don't get lost in the neighborhood
So you don’t get lost in the neighborhood

P.S., GoodReads synopsis and reviews for other perspectives.