Sunday Selection 2021-08-01
We've had a couple days of actually good summer weather here, though we have a week of cloudiness to look forward to. I've been using the good weather to replenish my Vitamin D stores. Yesterday I ended up walking for 5 miles, got some ice cream, ate it outside and took a chunk out of my backlog of Brain Pickings articles. And that brings us to our first selection of the week:
Though ostensibly focused on pioneering conservator Rosalie Edge, and her featuring in the book Beloved Beasts, Brain Pickings writer Maria Popova gives us also gives us a glimpse into the start of the conservation movement, through the eyes of Edge, Rachel Carson, and a number of both beautiful and horrifying images of birds. My long walk yesterday took me through some protected wetlands, and yes, gave me glimpses of a number of birds along the way, making this article particularly timely.
Like a lot of people, the last few years have done a number on my ability to focus. Even before the pandemic and political turmoil of 2020 and early 2021, doomscrolling, the addictive, engineered dopamine hits of social media threatened to make any kind of deep focus a thing of the past. While I'm working on improving my focus in the short time (mostly by staying offline as much as possible), this article talks about focus on longer timescales: focus (or perhaps more accurately, direction) can be a result of exploring a number of options first, and then deciding which ones are best for you.
While I've been enjoying the last few days, it's not lost on me that we live in complicated times (socially, politically, environmentally) and that we are likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. These times will be marathons, not sprints, especially if we want to achieve lasting positive change, and not just survival. In that light, it's important to “put on your own oxygen mask first”, make sure you do the things needed to ground yourself and maintain your own sanity and safety. As this article tells us, there is no way to peace, peace is the way. (An Anti-Mandalorian credo of sorts?)