Black and Whites Seem Right


This week has been as cold and as hot as any I’ve experienced in awhile.

On Wednesday night, the cold inspired me to post the poem, “Lines for Winter,” on Facebook. An exceptionally appealing poem by the late Mark Strand, the piece seemed to fit the moment. Our temperatures were dipping into single digits, and I was restless and sad.

But in a troubling chill, in the bleakness of dark, wintery isolation, Strand asserted that we may still see a universal passion, even if we can’t seem to quite feel its heat. We may see ourselves resting “under the small fire of winter stars,” he wrote.

“Tell yourself that you love what you are,” he instructs. He seems to be saying it’s not about where or how we are, but what. It’s a fascinating understanding, and it buoyed me.

This cold and icy week has also included some moments of pure, passionate joy for me–straight-out-of-the-box pleasure. Joe and Heike came over during Tuesday night’s power outage, and we had wine and warm brownies, and we talked about politics and religion. I love them.

This week, too, I discovered a new tool, Meddle, which has proved to be really fun to use. And while it hasn’t yet brought any surprise guests to my door, it has opened a window into dozens of new relationships.

In a post about extremes like love and death, it may seem odd to count a new social-media experience on the “hot” side of the equation, but I do. Being in a conversation is very near the top of my list of “favorites.” Another is learning a new game. Social media gives me both.

So today, in honor of the coldest week of the year and one of the most entertaining, I’ve made “Black and Whites.” This afternoon we’ll be welcoming Patti and Ed Mens (Gabe’s parents) back to campus from Belgium, so in today’s frosting I’ve used the last of the chocolate she gave me when she was here last November.

Tonight, we are all invited to be part of a terrific conversation following the keynote address of the C.H.U.G. Conference in Davidson Auditorium. Dr. Matthew Harper, Assistant Professor of Italian at Loyola University, Maryland, will give a talk on Spaghetti Westerns at 6:30 p.m. The conference sessions continue from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. I’ll be there (with more cookies). In the meantime…

Happy Friday!
Come and get ’em.

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