December 21, 2018

Sounds of the season

Early in the mornings, a few hours before sunrise when everything is completely dark and the mountains are invisible in the windows, I listen to the world around me and feel at peace.

The rain here is incessant, unending, but in the pre-dawn hours it is less of an annoyance and more of a soundtrack to the morning. Some days, the rain sounds like a faucet left on, rushing against the roof in a steady stream. Other days, like today, the volume is lighter and the drops make a rhythmic patter upon the skylight. No matter what the sound, it is still distinctive, still uplifting.

The rain is not the only sound of the morning: sometimes, a bird starts chirping outside. I will try to peer outside the window to see what it may look like, but the darkness is pervasive: there are no lights, and so there is nothing to be seen. Very seldomly, a car drives down the adjacent street to the house—people on their very early way to work, or even a super early start to skiing on the mountain up the road—and breaks up the rhythm of the rain with a quick whoosh through the puddles. A musical score begins emerge as the morning progresses and the sun begins to peek above the horizon.

We attended the Christmas with Chor Leoni concert earlier this week, and the rich sonority of the choral compositions has stayed with me over the past few days. I am reminded of those beautiful choral arrangements as I listen to the cadence of nature in the morning; there is a music in all things, a rich tapestry of sound that envelops us and incites our own inner song.

Everything has musicality, if we just stop to listen. Early in the morning, before the sunrise and when I am blind to the world because of the darkness, listening is all I do.

In case you missed it:

Curious about what I considered my favourite podcasts, television shows, movies, and music of the year? I wrote a little year in popular culture” blog post earlier this week that talks about my consumption habits and some highlights of the year. It pairs perfectly with my year in reading blog post from last week. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.

A few things to read and explore:

Charles Pierce says something so many of us were thinking when we read that NYT report: We’ Did Not Miss the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism. You Did.

I haven’t had the chance to watch If Beale Street Could Talk just yet, but I re-watched Medicine for Melancholy again recently and was reminded of just how hauntingly beautiful (and delightful, and poignant) that film was. I remember walking out of the premiere at TIFF and being wowed that cinema could be made in such a delicate, considerate way. This piece on the impact of the movie on filmmaking, especially films made by Black filmmakers, is excellent.

That equality vs. equity illustration you’ve seen many times before? It’s a reflection of white supremacy. As useful as the picture was in starting conversations around Equality vs. Equity,’ we are basically blaming the person for being short, when in reality, we aren’t standing on a level playing field to start. We aren’t allowed to stand on a level playing field.”

Every day, there are hundreds of conversations about the future of work” and how we will adapt to the changing nature of work in light of technological advances. James Livingston argues that we should actually work towards abolishing work as humanity’s goal, and instead invest in a robust social safety infrastructure and shift our focus to leisure—and I must admit he makes a very convincing argument. How would human nature change as the aristocratic privilege of leisure becomes the birthright of all?”

A big part of my growth this year has been my learning to embrace the mundane, the repetitive, and to see the beauty and joy in the everyday. Annie Mueller captures it perfectly in her rumination: Maintenance tasks—like washing the dishes, folding the clothes—not only keep the basics of life functioning, but they also honor life itself. We are not too good for any of this. We are blessed to be here.”

I’ve written about this before, but becoming a caregiver when your partner falls sick is something we don’t talk about often enough.

From LitHub, the 75 best book covers of the year. It’s easy to argue with lists like these, but this one is pretty great. Also, it shows just how incredible book cover design can be and how important it is to our experiences of the books we read.

UK Cover for The Handmaid’s Tale.

We’re slowly re-building our cities for people rather than cars, and I can’t wait until this trend comes to my city, which is in love with cars, but absolutely hates active transportation. I love this quotation from the article: Yes, car owners are furious. That’s because they have mistaken their century-long domination over pedestrians for a right rather than a privilege. The truth is that cities are not doing nearly enough to restore streets for pedestrian use, and it’s the pedestrians who should be furious.”

Interesting and important: eight women on choosing not to have children.

Completely enthralled with this archive of over 4000 images of patterns from the Islamic world. Also impressed with these spiked sculptures made with folded paper by Matthew Shlian.

Mosque of Sultan Qaitbay, Cairo

Folded paper sculpture by Matthew Shlian

When I was young, concussion recovery didn’t involve low-stimulus recovery time. I wonder what damage my brain must have suffered from not having that kind of recovery time, not having a year inside my brain” that concussion-sufferers have now.

Operas summarized briefly. Cheeky and funny for any opera fan.

New Janelle Monáe music video! As always, the video is fun, empowering, and beautiful. (The ending is dark and intense, though.) And more Tessa Thompson sightings!

An important reminder, from my friend Holly, as you head into the holidays: rest assured that your name is someone’s favorite word.” This whole poem is beautiful, and will bring a tear to your eye:

Have a wonderful holiday season, my friends, and remember to sparkle unabashedly with kindness. I’ll see you in the new year.

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