A Perpetually Burning building

We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love. – Tennessee Williams

Good Lord, I might just survive this after all.

Good morning!

The advent of electricity changed our lives forever, and we were no longer bound by natural cycles and parameters.

We could work around the clock, unhindered by darkness. Our brains did not know what to do with this phenomenon, and so it sometimes would get confused about when it was time to release melatonin or not, triggering us to sleep. Shift work was impossible in any real scale before electricity.

We were unbound by seasons. The US South was an inhospitable place to live before the advent of Air Conditioning, which led to a population explosion in places like Atlanta and Phoenix. But also, and more pertinent to what I am thinking about this morning, it meant we could be relatively comfortable year round and could thus ignore the seasonal weather, and the constant access to light meant we could ignore the seasonal darkness.

So, we have largely lost touch with the seasons and the rhythms they bring.

But I know that in the winter, I move slower, and sleep more, and generally withdraw more from people, even when we are not in the end of two years of a pandemic. And I like thick and hearty stews in the wintertime as well as thick socks and sweaters, even if it is a toasty 70 degrees in my house.

In so many ways, body does keep the score.

So it is with great glee that I see that after many grey and rainy days, we have a week of sunshine in front of us here in Central Mississippi, and as we march toward the spring equinox, each day adds a few precious minutes of daylight, and I feel the distant, almost instinctive, yearn to move again, to embrace people again, to create, to build, to plant.

I hope you are safe and warm wherever you are, and that the ever-increasing light will always guide you home.

Five Beautiful Things

  • Polar bears have taken over an abandoned Russian weather station, and they are living their best life.
  • During the lockdowns in San Francisco, Doris Mitsch began taking pictures outside her front door, but above it, in the sky. She then pieced the photos together to track the paths of birds, insects, and bats, showing the activity that was always overhead, even as the world around her slowed.
  • I’m not quite sure this fits, but I love The Archies, a 60’s era bubblegum band that never actually existed.
  • 52 dance choreographers in a dance chain letter. OMG, I love so much about this. It was 2018, so pre-pandemic, which is testified to by the lack of masks. But the intimacy of being inside the homes of the artists seems current, and the obvious joy, and seeing acts of physical athleticism by people (for the most part) over 50, and the scenes in New York, where people act crazy on the crowded sidewalk and nobody even notices… I love it all. I also really, really miss New York.
  • Another video, entirely different: Treeline, a beautiful, award winning filmed in Japan, British Columbia, and Nevada, celebrating trees. It’s a half hour, so cue this up when you have time to pay attention to it, but it’s lovely.

It’s a short note today – I have a stacked up day in front of me. But thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you later.

For all the ways you support this project – by sharing this letter with your friends, by talking it up on social media, by being a Patron, buying me a book or a cup of coffee, I am grateful for your support and all the ways you make this project possible.

This list grows slowly, by one or two names most weeks, because someone like you forwards it to somebody else, who subscribes. And if someone did forward this to you, you can get your own subscription here.

Take care of yourself. And each other.
Hugh Hollowell Jr