Tag Archives: W.G. Sebald

Morell: Animal Wise

I recently read Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel (2013) by Virginia Morell, correspondent for Science and contributor to National Geographic, Smithsonian, and other publications. She’s author of several books including Wildlife Wars (2001), which she co-authored with Richard Leakey.

Morell takes us on a tour of current research into the minds of animals, starting with ants and working up through various species to our primate relatives. Dear to my heart, she reserves the last chapter for our best friends, dogs.

I found it a wonderful exploration with some real eye-openers.

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Sliding into Darkness

summer solsticeI didn’t realize it at the time, but by staying up reading until 5 AM this morning, I was awake for the ironically named “Beginning of Summer.” I say “ironically” because the Summer Solstice is the point when the days start to get shorter again. The beginning of summer is also the beginning of the darkness.

Which means that my pagan side mourns the Summer Solstice as much as it celebrates the Winter one. These days, it’s hard not to see a larger parallel in society. Many of us feel and fear society is sliding into darkness — inexorably spinning along a path towards a Winter of Disaster.

This Solstice, as food for thought, I want to introduce The Five E’s

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Sunday Sundries

day of rest 1I have mentioned before that I like to observe a Sabbath of some kind, a day of rest and difference. Years of religious indoctrination cause me to see Sunday as that day. More than forty years of work life reenforced that view (although I often worked Sundays in my very first job). Ultimately the actual day isn’t important; it’s the idea of taking a weekly break from normal that I think is crucial to mental well-being.

There is also for me, not a religious component, but a moral one nevertheless. I observe certain restrictions on my Sabbath (I don’t watch anything violent, for example), and I try to connect with my gentler side. (I’m actually a gentle soul at heart. The world has had the effect of giving me a crusty, pointy exterior.)

So today, no Python, no POV-Ray, no math (no rants).

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