18 October 2008

Look for the helpers

"When I was a child and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find peoplep who are helping.'" -Fred Rogers, /You Are Special/ (1994), p. 104

I've been reflecting on that for the last few days. It's a matter of zooming out your lens on reality. Where you see only pain, zoom out. There are helpers out of frame. They may not be fixers, but they are trying to make it better. They are still positive energy pouring on the hurt*. And having a more complete picture will help you remember humanity even in the face of atrocity.

*because of these darn kids and their new slang, i need to clarify that i mean "positive energy is flowing on top of negative energy", and not "positive energy is causing harm". darn kids muddling up the language... :)

[edit: omg cosmic alignment-- i just navigated to the family communications, inc, webpage, and they had that quote playing in a photo collage of him in a flash animation on the front page! omg!]

12 October 2008


When the temperature drops and the air turns sharp and clear, I know that winter is hiding in an alley around the corner, smoking moist-air-cigarettes with Slush and Gray. For a week or two, I appreciate the beauty around me as the last bits of green happiness before the 6-month winter settles in and I never want to go outside because my eyelashes will freeze together.

And then, all of a sudden, Ann Arbor is aflame with a blazing vibrancy of colors unique to anywhere in the universe. It's a fire that warms the cooling days, gorgeous to look at. But more importantly, it's one big Mardi Gras parade of life, love, and color before the somber Lent of winter comes in. Autumn is a celebration of life, a reminder that all things pass, but our existence flows in cycles, and so there's no need for despair at death. Life will come again. Without death, the renewal, the joie de vivre, of spring would be meaningless.

But death is winter, and winter is not here yet. Here is Autumn, and Autumn is glory days. Autumn is love and reflection and beauty immeasurable. Autumn is a 100th birthday party-- we know the end is coming sooner rather than later, but still we rejoice in life.

There's a reason a phoenix bursts into flame before dying, instead of withering away to dust. When time is of the essence, style must be, too.