Emptying my Draft Folder before Winter Solstice
This is Clouds Form Over Land, weekly writing about resilience, imperfectionism, and our relationship to the earth.
Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night.
Humanoids have marked this day since perhaps the Neolithic period—the end of the Stone Age, around 10,200 BCE. Celebrations around the world include Dong Zhi, St Lucia’s Day, Midwinter, Saturnalia, Inti Raymi, Shab-e Yalda, and Soyal. I like to mark the day by noticing how much light we still receive and dreaming some new dreams for the next season.
I’m sending writing fragments from the fall season as a thank-you to paid subscribers.
If you have room in your budget, $5/month really puts wind in my writing sails.
Do Not Disturb
When we return to Wi-Fi after bouts at sea, I often feel hypnotized by the slot machine of apps and content. The world comes rushing in, at first with unanswered texts and cherished updates, and later with the blur of the scroll. Feeling down about screentime feels a bit dated or overdone, so I pause to even mention repatterning tech habits when maybe we’re all just doing our best to cope with how much life has changed in the last few decades. In any case, I found it surprisingly helpful to leave my phone on do not disturb mode almost always. As a social being, my brain pings me multiple times a day to open Instagram, Gmail, What’s App, and Discord. I don’t require a reminder and my current duties in the world don’t require urgency in responding. This shift in the past six months has been small but mighty — an everyday reminder to connect when I have the capacity and reduce urgency and pings where possible.
Three Tree Island
There’s an island in the San Blas with three trees, some shrubbery, and a whole lot of trash. Carla and I swam over and a few days later, Ananda and I did too. At first, we seemed to be the only inhabitants, but soon the sand wiggled with countless hermit crabs. I wanted to clean up this tiny shoal. Global habitat destruction is a bit outside my scale, but surely I could clear an island the size of a modest American home of it’s wrappers and bottles and diapers. Seriously so many diapers.
Burning trash is fairly common. Island life makes the point strongly that there is no magical “away” for refuse. Several trash bags were already collected, either washed up or tossed there by passing motorists. I wasn’t sure what to make of the many tubes of reef-safe sunscreen. I piled it all up. And I tried to burn it, but my little lighter was no match for the salty wet trash, especially after a few days of rain.
A visit to the peluquería, or how to request bangs in Spanish
Our return to the city has been an excitement and a shock. The elaborate collaboration of humanity feels evident in everything from traffic lights to sushi rolls.
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