Day 64, May 19, 2020


(A continued meditation on the 7 Deadly Sins)

There is something about the lithe dexterity of a hummingbird, the purposeful industriousness of its movements, so definitive in its forward and reverse, its assessment, and then it flies away. 

When I see a hummingbird, I want to be in its presence, to hear its high speed whir tickle the inner ear, to stop whatever it is I am doing and pay attention. To know, this is a moment. Who does not yearn to be in the presence of a hummingbird? The iridescent colors, to be caught in that opal eye, to drink in the sweetness of flower, of sugar water, a life sustained by pleasure.

In comparison, our lives seem mundane, earthbound, sedentary. 

Sometimes, when I feel lonely, or frustrated, in a funk, I'll start to peruse used instruments on the various internet showcases. Certain guitars have the right combination of shapeliness, the alluring selection of wood, and perfect compliment of finish, that makes you know there are songs embedded within, that it will inspire you to do things you might not ordinarily do, explore new genres of sound, channel the sounds of different eras, different musical heroes.

I will research an instrument, fantasize about holding it in my hands, envision the performance I will give with it, imagine the finish pressed against my skin, feel the blemishes, the areas of wear, and know how my body will conform to fill the arch and curve of its shape. I will obsess over the thing as if there is no other source of meaning in this world, until I convince myself that it is the one thing that will bring me calm and a sense of purpose. 

Of course, it is almost never like that. Guitars are objects. I am a susceptible human being who succumbs to desire, who loves the attraction of something new, the scent of a different instrument, the faint smells of tobacco, beer, and everyone who has touched the instrument before me. But since it is just an object, sometimes it is not what I imagine and it is just that, an object. I have been mistaken. I have been consumed. I have not found the solution to my lust, only buried it in disappointment. 

But sometimes, there is the rare occurrence, when there is a seemingly otherworldly connection to an instrument. Something like a spirit that embodies the soul of the instrument and graces my physical being and makes one realize that this too, is a moment. It is an alignment of planets, of objects on this Earth. It is a call and response that is reciprocated with the same tenor and grace one hears within one's own head. It is a full body response from fingertips to arms, to chest, throat, face, hips, groin, legs, feet. It is about pleasure. The hummingbirds' promise. 


From Our Friends:

From Bo Youp Hwang (my dad):

BSO Violinists Bo Youp Hwang, Sheila Fiekowsky, and Victor Romanul continue to practice and perform music while Symphony Hall is closed. In this video, they offer a performance of Bach's Partita No. 2 in D Minor as they practice and #stayathome. #BSOatHome

From Charlotte Gifford:

Here's the male oriole who so enjoys our clementines. I caught these shots while giving one of my final exams on Zoom, leaning awkwardly to one side with my phone in my left hand and trying to take the pictures through the window.

It's cool how he figured out how to grab the orange with his beak, and then pin it to the feeder pole with his foot so he could chow down. I also love that his favorite food matches his plumage.

From Jan Ross:

What a nice garden visitor!

From the Blog Practical Visionaries:

The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and the Social Justice Initiative at University of Illinois Chicago hosted a conversation to discuss how collective action and the solidarity economy can help to not only address immediate issues related to the Coronavirus pandemic but also plan for an alternative economic future.
Moderated by Stacey Sutton from the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC with panelists Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson, Iranian-American writer Hoda Katebi, Penn Loh from Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Renee Hatcher UIC John Marshall Law School-Chicago.

From Teaching Tolerance:

As we continue to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we hope educators commit to uplifting the diversity of AAPI identities year round. These resources offer ideas for including AAPI stories and valuing the lived experiences of AAPI people in our learning spaces, regardless of our own identities and those of our students.

Today's Online Teaching Tips:

From It Gets Better:


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