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The Big Top

Two of my children live in Japan, and one--known in this journal as Little Springtime--was directly in the path of what the Japanese call Typhoon 19 and what in the United States is called Typhoon Hagibis. Little Springtime lives in the flood plain of the Sumida river, which they were saying could flood to 5 meters. She and her girlfriend were assiduously thorough in their emergency preparation and took shelter on the second floor of their house, as advised, and kept the TV on to hear if their ward was going to order an evacuation. I waited all through Saturday day--their Saturday night--to find out how they weathered it. And they were fine! And their house was fine!

I'm very, very relieved.

"This experience has made me feel like I want way less stuff," Little Springtime said, and that dovetailed with something I'd been thinking: that in this age we live in, where our homes are assaulted by hurricanes and tornadoes and fires and floods, maybe we ought to have our concept of house be a much, much less permanent (and less expensive) thing. Maybe freestanding houses should be something quickly assembleable and deconstructable , and apartment buildings should be earthquake resistant armatures, with the individual units, like freestanding houses, something you can easily put up in the armature. And these things would cost very little--much less than cars cost. If they're destroyed in a storm, it's no biggie; you replace them. And they wouldn't last long--maybe five years, and then you'd have to replace them (assuming a natural disaster didn't destroy them first).

They'd be kind of like the Laurie Anderson song "Big Top."

When Buckminster Fuller came to Canada
He kept asking the same question
Have you ever really considered how much your buildings actually weigh?

He showed them pictures of domed cities
Cities with no basements
No foundations
Cities that could be moved in a minute
Portable cities
Portable towns

He said think of it as camping out
He said think of it as one big tent
He said think of it as the big top

And what of personal belongs? Well like Little Springtime says, we'd want way, way less of them--or way less that we're emotionally attached to. I was imagining into existence big spheres, like exercise balls, into which you could put your very special items when a disaster is coming. It would have your contact information on it, be watertight and fireproof, and openable only by you or trusted others. If it got blown away or carried away by water, no worries--after the disaster you could recover it, open it, and there would be your treasures.

... What do you think?

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/919959.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


I did some volunteering today in the adult-and-high-school learning program I've volunteered with before--first time I've been able to in many months, because the jail job kept me too busy. It was so good. I had three students I've had before, plus a new student I liked instantly. We read a bit from the chapter of When I Was Puerto Rican that I used for my first class in the jail, and it sparked some good conversations--including a tangential discussion on heritage versus citizenship and what you call yourself. That was a side conversation in Spanish, and I had to rein it in, both for the sake of the one non-Spanish speaker in the group and because the other three need to work on English, but I was pleased to be able to understand what was said, and it was great to hear people's opinions.

I really love this; I really need to keep it in my life now that the jail job is over.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/919590.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Not One of Us no. 62

One thing I enjoy when I read a whole magazine is seeing the resonances the editor has gone for in the things that are included, what sits next to what, what echos or builds on what. This issue has a good rhythm of long and short, humorous and serious.

comments on the poems and storiesCollapse )

All in all, a rich issue, by turns mysterious, playful, horrifying, lovely.

Here is a link where you can get in touch to pick up a copy of the magazine--or to submit.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/919518.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

little witch zine

A family member made a tiny zine for October:

black & white, 8 illustrations, simple photocopied & folded/stapled zine bc i wanted to try sth with no digital editing or anything. if you want one, it’s $2, just drop me a dm

Here's a way to reach them: Tumblr 'ask' link

October makes me think of Inktober--I think I'm going to pass on day 2's prompt, which is "mindless," but maybe I'll try the AI-generated prompt, "spoon creature." I like the AI list.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/919273.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

a couple of random thoughts and pictures

I heard a quote last week from Lynn Margulis, of Gaia Theory fame: "Life is matter that chooses." My immediate reaction was that I liked it ... but then I started having doubts. It's appealing, but what does "choose" mean? If a single-celled organism moves toward light or engulfs a food particle or away from a predator, is that a choice? In what sense is it a choice? How is it different from a shadow's movement across the ground in response to the movement of the sun earth around the sun? For that matter, how is it different from the earth's own movement, or the sun's? Or if those things are too physical, then how is the single-celled organism's action more choice-y than a chemical reaction like rust forming on metal?

Maybe I'm too pedestrian a thinker in this case, but to me choice involves weighing alternatives, and while some things that are alive do weigh alternatives, I think it's a stretch to say all living things do, so I don't think this formulation really can be used to define life.

Completely unrelatedly, it hit me at 5:45 this morning that there's a good reason that various flavors of Christianity (maybe all of them?) tell people to imitate Jesus and not God, and it has entirely to do with the fact that on the face of things Jesus was just a person walking around doing person things--despite the central tenet of the faith that emphatically says we have to erase the "just" from the previous clause. You could say imitate the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela or Greta Thunberg or anyone else who's admired, and the effect is the same--you're picking a fellow human who's setting a good example for you in some way. But if you decide to imitate God/a divinity, then you and those around you are in for a world of trouble. (I mean, possibly you'll/they'll be in for that anyway, depending on the human you decide to choose as your model, but it's a guarantee if you take it into your head to imitate a deity.)

Last, a couple of pictures. I probably (most assuredly) won't do all of Inktober, but here's Day 1: "ring"

And here is some pointful stencil graffiti from Keene, NH, where we were this past weekend because Wakanomori was running a marathon

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/918851.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


I have a short story in this!

The story is called "The Boy on the Roof" and has to do with desperate remedies for climate change.

I don't think you can buy single issues of the current issue; you can buy back issues, but this isn't a back issue yet. Eventually the stories become available online to read for free, and when that happens, I'll link.

The contributor list is awesome and includes a story in Spanish, poetry, and essays. Very cool. Plus the illustrations are gorgeous.

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/918564.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

a hinge or a lock

It's a beautiful weekend here, and it's the weekend of the town fair, and I've been taking so many pictures of so many things, but here are just a few.

First a question that popped into my head as I was admiring the hinges on this building at Cold Spring Orchard, when then my eyes fell on the lock.

Are you a hinge ...


or are you a lock?


(Oooh, that binary thinking! How about neither/both? How about not-applicable/unsure? How about could you please rephrase the question? )

The next picture I include because I loved the absorption of this boy in his solitary play, creating earthworks at the feet of the draft horses:

solitary play in the company of others

And this one for the lace of autumn grasses:

autumn grasses

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/918497.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Peter Sís, bees

[personal profile] mallorys_camera and I went to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, where we enjoyed especially the art of Peter Sís, who has a way with fine lines, labyrinths, and rich colors (especially his blues I love). His art was better as paintings on a wall than as illustrations in a book; somehow they were diminished in book form, which isn't always the case with picture book art.

Here's a picture from a book he did about Tibet (his father got lost in Tibet for two years).

And here's one of birds on a journey--beautiful as a picture, but the story was posey and precious in a way I dislike.

After visiting the museum, we walked a bit and saw these bees, doing their golden work on goldenrod. Thank you, bees.

goldenrod and bees

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/917777.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

belated notes from a wedding

In August I went to the wedding of a dear friend, someone who's like a daughter to me--a treasured part of my family. She was the tall one's first girlfriend (if you look for a tall teenager with a much shorter teenager in this slideshow from more than a decade ago--that shorter teenager is her).

As it happens, the person she married is a woman (a wonderful woman who seems like an *excellent* life partner). In the marriage ceremony, the couple expressed gratitude to those who had come before them, whose courage and activism made it possible for them to be legally wed. The wedding banquet celebrated some of those people, as well as others who are important to the couple. It was a mini education for me:

Kate Bornstein

Kasha Nabagesera

moreCollapse )

Here's lovely evening light streaming into the banquet pavilion, and you can see one of the informational plaques to the right of the mason jar:

evening light, wedding

Everything about the wedding was beautiful, including the wind that rose up as they said their vows and the seagulls that perched on the roof ridge of the pavilion, a flock of guardian spirits.

The wedding took place in Ithaca, NY, a city that seems blessed with street art. Here is a trompe l'oeil mural whose archway beacons the viewer toward a verdant future--my wish for this couple.

mural Ithaca NY

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/917144.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

the real thing

Here is the flower stand, with flowers in the hole of the cinderblock. You can see that I got the rainbow umbrella wrong--it's rainbow along its latitude lines, not its longitude lines. I didn't remember!

umbrella flower stand

flowers cinderblock

Today the students arrive back at UMass, and at the nearby Big Y supermarket, Our Family Farms, a locally based milk company, had a little Jersey calf there to welcome and entice the students. A sweetie!

jersey calf

jersey calf

ETA: See [personal profile] jreynoldsward's comment here for information about great videos of Jersey cows ♥

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/916873.html. Comments are welcome at either location.



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