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Happy New Moon in Cancer, and Happy Birthday, Caleb!

I hope everyone is doing well! For those of you that celebrated the 4th of July over the weekend, I hope you had a fun, safe weekend. We didn't do all that much. It was a rather chill weekend. Thursday was my cousin Caleb's birthday; he's always been like a younger brother to me, and I spent many summers hanging out with him--despite the 10 year age gap, we always just clicked and had lots of fun together. It's hard to believe how many years have gone by; time surely has flown. Like usual, I made him some art pieces for his birthday (this has been a tradition for the longest). I had lots of fun!

The following day was the New Moon in Cancer; how has everyone been feeling? Lately I've been feeling rather tired when I wake up but feeling more awake at night. It's peculiar, but I imagine it has to do with energies (and maybe work on the astral plane at night). Maybe it has something to do with this week's new moon energies. Anyhow, I've included some info below on the new moon if you're interested:

When I woke up on Monday morning, my recollection wasn't the strongest. The details of the first part of my dream were fuzzy. There was something about being at the ocean and needing to save people. I think I was on my own at first, but I was able to convince two others to help me. I think other people wanted to stop us. While I know a lot happened/it was important, I don't really remember much from this part. I know there was another part involving travel with my parents, siblings, grandpa, cousins, and aunt Lisa, but I don't really remember anything. I think we were driving and my aunt instructed that no one wake her up; I think she wanted to rest and wake up naturally since it was a long drive.

The last thing I remember from my dream is that Adventure Club was at McDonald's, specifically the parking lot. There was a little boy (maybe named something like Trevor), who had lost his lunchbox and wanted help finding it. His dad had arrived to take him home, and I helped them search for it. It was a silver cube lunchbox. We found it after a bit of searching. A girl named Audrey came up to me and wanted me to check something out. She had me go to this small room that was in the location of the first drive through window where you pay. She wanted me to chat with this girl online. In the online chat the girl asked what I like to wear. I joked with an answer of "clothes." She proceeded to ask me if I liked kimonos; she said while she liked them, they are so difficult to wear. More happened in the dream, but that's all I remembered.

Corliss and I got to talking about our dreams from the night before. Corliss decided to analyze my dream a bit. Her thoughts: the kimono could indicate time difference and that the names are representative of the #5 (i.e. change). It reminded her of a recent video with Brother Freeman and his analysis of the Bible, equating it to a math equation and not just a "story" but pieces to a puzzle. In her dream she was escorted to a frozen water bed(?) and had to pick which fish she would dive after. There was a giant as her mentor and a more human sized one (she's been with him before but never saw face/body just presence, and she was there for talks vs physical demonstrations), and they were finding out Corliss's reasoning for her actions. This was the same ice mountain she had gotten stuck in with her sister and brother a few months ago in the dream world. She realized it was a different timeline because in the timeline a few months ago they had gone to a dark Target parking lot, and then she went in to find me. In this dream however she was at the banks trying to decide. There were three options, but she made it four. She decided to do two things instead of the designated one. Every time she would go into the water with the intent of looking at other options she was dived after and told to so it the correct way. She just figured that the store Target was equivalent to aim, answer or hit the mark or just hints in general. I found her dream interesting because Phil Good just released a video where he likened thoughts/energies to fish and asked which you want to actually go after and catch. Also, a game that I play sometimes updated today. It is VERY different in the new chapter, and it seems like the character wound up in a new world/timeline/reality; it had me thinking about InuYasha (in the new timeline or whatever she has a power stone inside of her that demons are after). Plus, the dream thing makes me think of the Demon Slayer movie. The first demon they fought (the one on the train) used dreams, and it proved quite difficult to wake up out of the dreams.

Our discussion led to her experiencing serious de ja vu, remarking, "It feels almost spooky because it physically feels like a part of you is jumping into your own body, like you just woke up, but what you are actually feeling is the timelines collapsing. The question now is what to do with this information. The universe is making us choose something right now." She felt pulled to draw some cards and do a bit of meditation. She was told to repel the negative energy and to show the world who she is (she drew two cards that were both full moons, like something is going to come to an end) and for fun because she saw that luck was on her side, Sagittarius. Due to the Sagittarius card (and the fact that I tend to be lucky), she felt that I am involved somehow (probably because of the Target dream and since she was thinking of me offering to pull cards for her when she had planned to come see me). She declared, "My testimony is that I give into myself. I believe in the journey my most supreme self sent me here to do. I am not powerless and I am sent breadcrumbs daily. I chose to see these. I choose to follow them. I choose to connect with her. I choose life. I choose to not stop or shield my greatness and this material world does NOT define me." It feels like some really powerful times are here/are heading our way. My human self doesn't know exactly what it is, but Corliss felt a strong pull towards 8.13.21. I figure that she said it as a reference to the date, but what I immediately thought of when she told me was my favorite number (8), my birth date (the 13th of December)/how I've been seeing 13 everywhere for the longest time lately, and how when you add 8 and 13, you get 21. The fact that the thoughts were strong mean something, but, again, my human self isn't quite sure what to make of it.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I didn't remember too much from my dream, but what I did recall started off being in a room I didn't recognize. It seemed like a fairly normal room. There was a TV in the room that was apparently playing General Hospital (I guess my mom was watching it, as she is the only person I know that watches it). I'm not sure if she was in the room or not, but my dad was. The TV zoomed in on four books. Noticing what they were, I exclaimed, "Look, look! It's some of the Dinofours books!" I wanted my dad to notice; they were my favorite books to read at my grandma's (his mom) house while growing up (I only just recently in the last year or two remembered what they were called; it had been bothering me for the longest because I absolutely adored those books growing up, but I struggled with remembering it's name--then one day I stumbled upon them at the preschool's library). It was the first time I was ever excited about that show, and it was due to children's books from my childhood 🤣

The next thing I could remember was basically that we were inside the TV screen, although it was more that I was observing as consciousness (I don't think I had a physical vessel at this point)--it's not like I traveled through the screen (like how Timmy goes to various shows in Fairly Odd Parents "Channel Chasers," but that my consciousness was instantaneously there. It was now the world of General Hospital rather than viewing it on a screen. There was some sort of female worker, and she was quite sad. She chose to just kind of be there in her emotions rather than doing her job. No one else there noticed her, too absorbed in being busy in their jobs/own worlds. Apparently Michael (Michael Corinthos? Michael Quartermaine? I don't follow the show--I just sometimes overhear it if I'm around when my mom is watching it. He's Sonny Corinthos' adopted son, I think, but he's associated with the Quartermaines) was the boss of whatever job/business it was. He noticed that the numbers were going down drastically and went to investigate and try to resolve the issue. He talked to various people, but none of them knew what was different/what the problem was. He was rather perplexed and continued his search. He stumbled upon the woman, noticing her just standing there, crying, as her grief consumed her. He approached her, asking, "Why are you just standing here? What's wrong?" On top of her misery, she now felt absolute dread in the pit of her stomach because she was convinced the head boss would fire her for not doing her job. To her surprise, he enveloped her in a massive, warm hug, saying something to the effect of it being okay. I don't remember what exactly he said, but the gist was that it was okay to feel, let's work on helping you feel better, we'll need to work on improving your numbers, but that can wait for now. She broke down into sobs again, but this time it was partially in relief (she wasn't getting fired, and not only did someone finally see her, they understood and wanted to help).

I didn’t remember all that much from my dream when I woke up on Wednesday morning. What I do remember is that I was hanging out with the boys, and their parents were there for part of the dream. I’m guessing the parents had gotten back from work or an outing. Their dad was basically telling me I was good to leave/that I should leave, but for whatever reason the mom had taken my shoes earlier (it wasn’t a mean or controlling thing—I’m guessing it was sort of like how in countries like Japan you take your shoes off when you enter a home). I’m not sure what her reasoning was, but she had decided to take my shoes upstairs to where she and the older of the two boys were hanging out. When I informed their dad that I’d leave but that I’d need to get my shoes from the mom since she took them, he got all exasperated at their mom (I’m guessing it was similar to how he was exasperated at their mom for wanting me to come over the other day to discuss one of the boys’ online P.E. class; he thought it was unnecessary and kind of ridiculous to make a special trip and spend an hour making sure we understood everything for the class—the mom just wanted everything to go smoothly, especially after some of the complications that were experienced back during virtual school). We went to get the shoes. I don’t think there were any issues in retrieving them. As I was putting on my socks and shoes, their dad started hiding bags of candy around their house (I guess like how candy is hidden around homes for Easter). He said I could help hide the candy for the boys to find before I left. He gave me several bags, and I was wondering how he managed to get ahold of this massive bag of Iddy Biddy Bunnies (they’re my favorite kind of chocolate, but I wasn’t able to find them this year). I hid the bags without issue. Somehow my siblings and some other kids showed up and were hanging out in their basement (although I think it was kind of fused with the basement of my home). My siblings had made a mess with Legos and other stuff all over the floor. I told them that we had to leave but that they had to clean up this mess first, that it was not okay to more or less trash another person’s home. They began cleaning up, and these random other kids started doing stuff like messing with the freezer. The kids had partially broken the freezer door; while it would close/latch, the top layer of the door was like peeling off. I have no idea how they managed to pull that off. Then there was this little girl messing with something (I’m not exactly sure what it was), but I noticed her and started to tell her not to do that. She didn’t listen, and she wound up with some kind of white concoction (it sort of resembled damp baking powder—it could have been sort of like a slime because I know kids love making slimes) all over her face. I gave her a damp paper towel to start cleaning up her face before going to the bathroom to clean it for real. I think that’s the last thing that happened, or, rather, that’s the last thing I remember happening in my dream.

The first part of my dream's details are a bit hazy when I woke up on Thursday morning, but I was with other people/beings trying to protect some kind of treasure, as some group was trying to wrongfully steal it for themselves. The group with me started off large, but as we traveled, individuals seemed to be picked off by the other group, disappearing. We might have been on an island, though I'm not entirely sure. We did travel by water like rivers and underground water channels maybe). The last thing I remember is that only me and one other individual were left, but I'm pretty sure we were successful in our objective to protect the treasure from the individuals of mal intent.

The next thing I remember I'm pretty sure I adopted a 6 year-old boy. He was super cute. One of my coworkers from the preschool was over. We were in the backyard with the boy and a dog (maybe her dog). There was a gate in the fence connected our backyard to the backyard of the house behind us. The dog and the boy were slightly on the other side of the gate, playing. It was getting dark, as it was nighttime. Suddenly, the dog came racing back, and the boy tripped on the way back, falling and beginning to cry. He came to me, looking for comfort. As I provided comfort, I asked my coworker to please close the gate. She gave me a weird look, as if to ask why. I remarked, "I know others might question it, but a dog and small child suddenly came running back upset, as if they're trying to get away from something. They're too strongly connected to Instinct and intuition; it feels like a blatant sign for the universe, one I don't want to ignore. Let's go inside." She shrugged, deciding to comply with an air of whatever floats your boat. A minute after getting inside I noticed movement in the darkness outside from the window. A massive, black bear climbed over the fence and began wandering around the yard. I called my coworker over to come look. She was shocked, remarking, "You were right." Later (could have been the same night in the dream) I was in my brother's old room and could see the bear. I called my mom over to warn her (she's absolutely terrified of bears). As I told her about what happened from the upstairs bedroom window, the bear seemed to stare us down. It felt rather aggressive, as I think it snarled at us by the grill. We went into my parents' room for some reason. It started pouring rain. I looked out their window and noticed Chloe and Kira (April's cats) out in the rain. I called April and her mom to let the know they were at my house. The bear was climbing over the fence to the neighbor's backyard at that point. I met Emily and Drew back in the first room my mom and I had been in to update them on the situation. There was a massive flat-screen TV on the back patio at this point, and it was cracked, almost as if someone had punched it or something had hit it. It was still raining, but apparently lightning had hit a tree as one of the branches has a small fire burning on it now. More might have happened, but the next thing I remember is waking up (at like 2:40 thinking it was time to get up). When I woke up, I felt incredibly hot—it was rather unusual.

I ended up falling back asleep. I don’t remember the specifics of the next part of my dream, but it involved the staff of the preschool. I had gone to visit with my co-teacher, Carla. She was busy meeting with students/parents, and I was starting to feel uncomfortable in the room because the director of the school was giving me intense, weird vibes, like she didn’t want me to be there--like I was a thorn in her side and ruining everything. I went to another room to get away from it/her. There were people everywhere. I don’t know if it was like an open house or some kind of district-wide development thing or what. The staff member that had helped us out regularly with our bi-lingual kiddos saw me and rushed up to greet me, enveloping me in a massive hug. She apologized for the lack of contact and explained that she had been busy with so much and had even gone to England. She stuck with me because she could tell there was strangeness going on with the head of the school. She wanted to help me--she has a really open, kind, and caring heart. She wanted to take me outside for a meditation I think and brought me several different items (I’m not sure what they were, but they were squishy, in different colors, and kind of looked like grapes but weren’t food) and wanted me to pick one to take with me. I think the main ones she wanted me to choose from were either blue or green. The head of the before/after care came up to me and was being fairly rude/nasty to me, saying stuff like I was pushing my luck being here, that I shouldn’t even be here (sort of a "how dare you even think of coming here" kind of vibe). I informed her that I had moved on, that I had closed that chapter and started a new one, why was she acting like I was trying to get back in? I was feeling rather emotional, starting to tear up. I hadn't done anything to them--I had just wanted to come see the friends I had made among the staff at the school. I wasn't looking to try and worm my way back into employment there. I recognized that it was time to start something new and emphasized that. She seemed unconvinced, but then I started explaining what I had been doing. Apparently, I was getting ready to start like my own library for an underprivileged area and had been creating art that a lot of people were requesting/pre-ordering. She apologized, recognizing that her actions were uncalled for and that the situation wasn’t anything like she thought it was. There were some older people around that started comforting me, telling me not to take what those people (i.e. the director and head of before/after care) said to heart, that they don’t know anything. They kept patting me on the back/stroking my shoulder. The head of before/after care sort of seemed like she was kind of like brainwashed and manipulated into being against me by the director. As soon as she actually spoke to me and listened to my side of things, she realized her beliefs had been misguided and skewed drastically--that what she had thought to be the truth wasn't in reality true at all. I think more happened (maybe with the director coming back and trying to be rude), but that’s all I remember.

When I shared that dream with Corliss, she seemed to enjoy the dreams overall. She liked the ending of the dream as well as the what I was up to part. She thought that it was extra significant that I was speaking up for myself; she felt that it was extra special that I stood up to "authority." She loved that. She felt that the bear was representative of America. noting that I adopted innocence and protected the clueless. She noted that I closed a gate (like an energetic one) and that the heat was real due to the closeness with an idol in the Astral--America being the idol, as it is in its own right symbolic of a God. She felt that the two cats represent guides in the Astral: one old and one new. The colors were also significant (green being the heart chakra and blue being the throat chakra). The rain is water, which represents a cleanse. It felt like a really powerful and significant dream.

When I woke up on Friday morning, I felt like a lot happened in my dream, but I didn't remember all that much from it. The main thing I remember is meeting a being that referred to itself as the heart of the planet. I had been close to what Iris dubbed the “baby park”—I think I was across the street from it. I might have been with a couple of people (like I was babysitting maybe), but the details on who was with me is fuzzy. There were trees over there, and a being greeted me. It seemed to be made of plants (kind of like Te Fiti from Moana) and resembled a unicorn. It seemed like a kind, gentle, loving being (granted, if it truly was the heart of the planet, that would make sense). The being gave of vibes that many would attribute to someone like Jesus—kind of like it was there to help save the planet. We were having a conversation when other people came up to us (although I don’t remember exactly what was being said). The others seemed unable to see this being. The being followed me because I think I ended up being like a spokesperson for it (as others were unable to see it). I want to say that Kagome’s grandpa from InuYasha was there (or it was someone very much like him); he was one of the few people that believed me and was willing to help me/the being (although I don’t think he could see the being). I think we were trying to raise awareness and create some sort of like celebration in honor of the being. We were met with a lot of skepticism; others didn’t believe in the creature/what we were saying because they couldn’t actually see the being. I don’t remember all the particulars, but I think we managed in pulling off whatever celebration or like press conference thing for the being. Whatever steps we had to pull off, apparently, we accomplished them, and during the event (whatever exactly it was) the being was able to complete what it needed to. I think as it traveled through the streets/paths as people were gathered in its honor, more and more people were able to see it. I feel like there was much more to this dream, but that’s all I can remember.

The energies explain why my dreams have felt extra powerful and significant lately. It also explains why I woke up extra early on Thursday morning feeling incredibly hot; when I woke up later to get ready for babysitting, I was "back to normal." The influx of incoming energies explains so much. Here are some videos on it if you're curious and would like to know more:

To be completely honest, I didn't remember anything when I woke up on Saturday morning or this morning. To be fair, I slept rather poorly since we experienced a 38 hour power outage over the weekend, and I don't sleep well when it gets quite warm. I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep as I couldn't get comfortable. Thankfully, the power finally came back on at 3 pm today, so I'll be able to sleep well tonight! I look forward to it! Sleeping properly was my biggest struggle during the power outage. I was fine spending the hours reading and going for walks. It didn't bother me that I was unable to use electronics. While not ideal, it didn't bother me that I was unable to get food out of the fridge/freezer and cook it. I could handle all of that. I've felt so exhausted today with two nights of insufficient sleep, and that's what kind of bothered me (I knew that it could be worse and that it wouldn't last forever, but this human experience is not one that I particularly enjoy--I need my sleep to be able to properly function). Sincerest gratitude to the universe and the electric department workers that finally fixed the power! I genuinely appreciate it because I'll be able to get the sleep I need!

One of the walks I went on was to the local farmers' market since I read that they have a new partnership with Honey Bee Biscuits, a new biscuit and baked goodies eatery. They also have a food truck. It looked pretty neat based on the online article, and since we had no power, we chose to have breakfast there on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, they didn't have the chocolate chip dessert biscuit that the online menu had listed, but I tried their egg and cheese "sammie." It was pretty good, but it seemed a bit dry (although that could be because we left rather late in the morning and they said they opened at 8 am on Saturday). I still would like to try the dessert biscuit; it sounded delicious!

With all of my unexpected free time this weekend, I did a bunch of reading. I decided to reread short stories I read back during college since I've been feeling a pull towards them for awhile before reading Scott Westerfeld's Mirror's Edge. The first thing I read was "The Persistence of Vision" by John Varley; I had been trying to remember it's name for the longest--I had read it back in school for a mystery of language course years ago, and I kept feeling the nudge that it was relevant and important to the times we find ourselves in now. I tried searching for the short story based on what I remembered, but those searches didn't yield the desired results. A flash of insight struck after months of trying to figure out what it was; why not ask my teacher? I wasn't sure if he still taught at the school, but I figured it was worth a shot since he would know what it was called. After searching through nearly all 50 pages of the staff directory (unfortunately, his name had escaped me, too, until I came across it in the directory), and I found his contact info. Seriously, I was almost at the end of the directory, thinking, "Well, this isn't the most promising prospects, but there's still a few pages left. He could still be there." Then, lo and behold, I found him. He replied the next morning, too, super happy to hear from me and more than thrilled to share the short story with me, as it's one of his favorites. He gave me a .pdf version of it, so now I don't have to worry about losing it again.

Seriously, though, as I started reading it, it hit home. The second sentence in was "I had recently joined the ranks of the unemployed" (775). While I have some babysitting over the summer to help bolster my financial resources, I'm unemployed. After so long of working in various schools, my one job basically forced me to resign in May of 2020, and the other just decided to up and eliminate all of the before/after care positions in May of this year. So, financially speaking, the past year or so has been rather dry in terms of financial income. When this kind of stark reality faces you, it can be a bit of a struggle to stay light-hearted and optimistic about finances. The second paragraph states, "The world's economy has been writhing like a snake on a hot griddle for the last twenty years...We were in a boom-and-bust cycle that seemed to have no end. It had wiped out the sense of security the nation had so painfully won in the golden years" (775). So many people feel the current times. I wonder how many people are waiting to receive unemployment (I was informed that I was accepted back in May of this year and have been completing the necessary requirements but have yet to receive anything). It definitely feels like we're in a bust right now, with so many people losing their jobs, businesses, and even homes. The beginning of "The Persistence of Vision" seems so similar to recent events. The main character attempts hitchhiking across the nation and notes, "Sticking out my thumb along the interstate, I could easily forget that there were food riots back in Chicago... The rides were scarce, partly competition from other hitchhikers and partly the times we were living in. The locals were none too anxious to give rides to city people, who they had heard were mostly a bunch of hunger-crazed potential mass murderers... [at family meals he was invited to in exchange for working] grandpa or grandma told oft-repeated tales of what it had been like... when people had not been afraid to help a fellow out when he was down on his luck" (775-776). It reminds me so much of people panicking and hording food at the beginning of the scare last year. It also reminds me about how people don't particularly trust one another any more--heck, just this week someone had gone around all the neighboring areas, rummaging through people's cars stealing any valuables or even the car itself. I'm not saying that there isn't reason to feel bitter or untrusting to people (especially when some individuals decide to go around stealing), but not everyone is like that. One experience seems to convince some people that everyone is like the one person that wronged them and then proceed to give up on humanity altogether. It's rather sad. The main character continues, "The refugees were a tragic group. The initial solidarity people show after a great disaster had long since faded into the lethargy and disillusionment of the displaced person... To make it worse, the local people hated them, feared them, would not associate with them. They were the modern pariahs, unclean. Their children were shunned" (776). This reminds me of the vaccine/non-vaccine divide. People seem so full of judgments right now that they refuse to even listen to the other side to see where they're coming from. There was even an article bashing protestors in this weekend's newspaper. Everyone has a right to free speech--it's the first amendment. You don't have to agree with them. You don't have to believe what someone else says is even true. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean that they aren't allowed to share their perspective--those that don't agree with the protestors would likely be up in arms in the protestors tried to stop them for speaking their truth. I happen to agree with their belief that fear is the true virus humanity is facing, but I recognize the importance of the other side being able to share their side. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle of the two. It would be great if everyone could meet in the middle and find ways to agree to cooperate, collaborate, and compromise.

The main character continues on his way until he reaches Taos, New Mexico. He explains, "Taos was the center, back in the '60's of cultural experiments in alternative living. Many communes and cooperatives were set up in the surrounding hills during that time... Taos was great. I could drop into most of the communes and stay for a day or a week, eating organic rice and beans and drinking goat's milk. When I got tired of one, a few hours' walk in any direction would bring me to another... I tried not to make judgments. These people were doing something important, all of them. They were testing ways whereby people didn't have to live in Chicago. That was a wonder to me. I thought Chicago was inevitable, like diarrhea. This is not to say they were all successful... Many were obviously doomed... So the place wasn't a paradise, not by a long way. But there were successes... I was disappointed to see that most of these were the ones that departed least from established norms of behavior, though some of the differences could be startling. I suppose the most radical experiments are the least likely to bear fruit... I seldom stayed for more than three weeks at any one place, and always pulled my own weight. I made many friends and picked up skills that would serve me if I stayed off the roads. I toyed with the idea of staying at one of them forever. When I couldn't make up my mind, I was advised that there was no hurry. I could go to California and return. They seemed sure I would" (777). Honestly, the description of Taos made Corliss and me extremely curious; it had us wondering if Taos is still like this--communes, connection to nature, organic food, not living the way cities/society dictates, these are the kind of things we want to try out (it sounds so appealing and up our alley). If anyone has been to Taos or a location like this description, feel free to share! Corliss and I are looking to travel, and we want to try out new places!

The main character ends up leaving the communes to continue on towards California. He hears about a deaf-blind community from a local but doesn't seem to exactly be convinced. This community was founded by a group of individuals that didn't feel like traditional society was the right fit for them--it wasn't like it was the worst fit, but they knew that life could be more than what society decided was fit for them. Varley explains,

"Each of them [the individuals that were born deaf and blind due to their mothers contracting Rubella while pregnant with them] had been entitled to a guaranteed annual income since 1980. They had been under the care of the government, so they had not received it. They sent their lawyer to court. He came back with a ruling that they could not collect. They appealed and won. The money was paid retroactively, with interest, and came to a healthy sum. They thanked their lawyer and retained a real estate agent. Meanwhile, they read. They read about communes in New Mexico, and instructed their agent to look for something out there. He made a deal for a tract to be leased in perpetuity from the Navaho nation. They read about the land, found that it would need a lot of water to be productive the way they wanted it to be. They divided into groups to research what they would need to be self-sufficient... There were techniques available to farm ecologically, without worrying about fertilizers or pesticides. Everything was recycled. Essentially, you put sunlight and water into one end and harvested wool, fish, vegetables, apples, honey, and eggs at the other end. You used nothing but the land, and replaced even that as you recycled your own waste products back into the soil. They were not interested in agribusiness with huge combine harvesters and crop dusters. They didn't even want to turn a profit. They merely wanted sufficiency" (782-783).

Their community (even if the story is technically a fictional one) is proof to never settle for less than you want. Anything is possible. Society may not believe it possible, but you don't have to allow such limiting beliefs restrict you. Just because it's never been done before doesn't mean that it is impossible and can't be done. Sure, there may be a lot of problem solving involved, but you can still achieve your goals and aspirations. You can make your dreams a reality. Getting such a project up and running requires a bit of driving force and perseverance. Varley explains, "Their leader, the one who had had the original idea and the drive to put it into action in the face of overwhelming obstacles, was a dynamo named Janet Reilly. Knowing nothing about the techniques generals and executives employ to achieve large objectives, she invented them herself and adapted them to the peculiar needs and limitations of her group. She assigned task forces to look into solutions of each aspect of their project: law, science, social planning, design, buying, logistics, construction... Her idea was not to make a place where they could lead a life that was a sightless, soundless imitation of their unafflicted peers. She wanted a whole new start, a way of living that was by and for the blind-deaf, a way of living that accepted no convention just because that was the way it had always been done... Her Social Task Force read about every variant group that had ever tried to make it on its own anywhere, and brought her reports about how and why they had failed or succeeded. She filtered this information through her own experiences to see how it would work for her unusual group with its own set of needs and goals" (783).

Having a leader can help unify people and movements, although it isn't always completely necessary (it's probably just more helpful to have one). If something doesn't work for you, find a way that does. If that way doesn't exist yet, create it. As well intentioned as society may be, society may not understand your specific needs--it certainly didn't when it came to the creators of the deaf-blind community. The path may be bumping and have roadblocks, but you can still reach your destination. Varley notes, "When things were ready for them to move, they ran into bureaucratic trouble. They had anticipated it, but it was a setback. Social agencies charged with overseeing their welfare doubted the wisdom of the project. When it became apparent that no amount of reasoning was going to stop it, wheels were set in motion that resulted in a restraining order, issued for their own protection, preventing them from leaving the school. They were twenty-one years old by then, all of them, but they were judged mentally incompetent to manage their own affairs. A hearing was scheduled... He [their lawyer] also had become infected with the crazy vision, and put on a great battle for them. He succeeded in getting a ruling concerning the rights of institutionalized persons, later upheld by the Supreme Court... Realizing the trouble they were already in regarding thousands of patients in inadequate facilities across the country, the agencies gave in. By then, it was the spring of 1986, one year after their target date... It was getting late to start crops, and they were running short on money. Nevertheless, they moved to New Mexico and began the backbreaking job of getting everything started. There were fifty-five of them, with nine children aged three months to six years" (783-784). With perseverance and dedication, the group managed to succeed in their endeavors. The journey was not without complications, but they triumphed none the less. The numbers also stood out to me: 55, 9, 3, and 6. Five is the number of change, and I do believe that it was Nikola Tesla that attested that one can understand the universe with the numbers three, six, and nine. Varley could have picked any numbers for the ages and amount of people, but these four were chosen and used together one after another. As there are no accidents or coincidences in this universe, I recognize the significance.

When designing their own community, they realized that the sky was the limit. As their community was the first of it's kind, there were no standards they had to replicate. Varley explains, "There had never been a blind-deaf community operating on its own. They had no expectations to satisfy, they did not need to live as the sighted did. They were alone. There was no one to tell them not to do something simply because it was not done... They had been forced into a mold that was not relevant to their needs, but beyond that they didn't know [what they wanted for their own society]. They would search out the behavior that made sense, the moral things for the blind-deaf people to do. They understood the basic principles of morals: that nothing is moral always, and anything is moral under the right circumstances. It all had to do with social context. They were starting from a blank slate, with no models to follow... They defined themselves in their own terms" (791-792). They get to set the bar. They get to create the rules to benefit them and fit their unique needs. They don't have to live by others' rules; they get to create them all on their own. Not going to lie, creating your own community like that sounds rather nice (but I'm sure there would be challenges along with it, like the legal battles that the inhabitants of the deaf-blind community had to fight).

As the main character reaches the community, he's almost run over by a train driven by one of the members of the deaf-blind community as he was on the path of the train (and none of the community ever expected anyone to walk on it since everyone knows better). The main character explains,

"He leaped from the car and grabbed me, and I thought I was in trouble. But he looked concerned, not angry, and felt me all over, trying to discover if I was hurt. I was embarrassed. Not from the examination; because I had been foolish. The Indian had said they were all deaf and blind, but I guess I hadn't quite believed him. He was flooded with relief when I managed to convey to him that I was all right. With eloquent gestures he made me understand that I was not to stay on the road. He indicated that I should climb over the fence and continue through the fields. He repeated himself several times to be sure I understood, then held on to me as I climbed over to assure himself that I was out of the way. He reached over the fence and held my shoulders, smiling at me. He pointed to the road and shook his head, then pointed to the buildings and nodded... I debated what to do. Most of me said to turn around... These people probably wouldn't want me around. I doubted that I'd be able to talk to them, and they might even resent me. On the other hand, I was fascinated, as who wouldn't be? I wanted to see how they managed it. I still didn't believe that they were all deaf and blind. It didn't seem possible... I don't know what I expected. I remember that everything was a surprise, either because it was so normal or because it was so different. None of my idiot surmises about what such a place might be like proved to be true" (781-784).

Often our hasty judgments and preconceptions paint our reality, but that doesn't mean that the resulting perception is accurate. Our minds often decide how others feel, but in reality the other people may not feel anything of the sort--the main character had thought the driver was initially angry when in actuality he was immensely concerned for his wellbeing and wanted to make sure he was unharmed. Our minds may tell us something is impossible, but it might just be "impossible" just because it was never done before (no one has ever tried it, which is why it doesn't seem like it could work). In the end it's better to withhold judgment and experience it for yourself before coming to any decisions. You might just learn something that will significantly inform and drastically alter your decision making process. The main character is surprised to find the inhabitants of the community running along the path--and no one is colliding with anyone else. He learns that each path is etched with different patterns, and pedestrians can avoid collisions since they use their bare feet to tell the difference between the different paths. He remarks, "It was no trick to see that it was some sort of traffic pattern read with the feet... I didn't need to know how it worked. It was sufficient to know what it was and stay off the paths. These people were unremarkable... Except for the fact that they did not stop and talk or even wave as they approached each other, I would never have guessed they were blind... I didn't know how they knew they [the intersections] were there... and [they would] slow down as they crossed. It was a marvelous system" (784-785). Just because certain systems don't suit specific needs doesn't mean that there can't be a system that fits those needs perfectly. No, the inhabitants of the community couldn't pull off the same feats if they had been in a "normal city," but that doesn't mean they are incapable of doing the same things supposedly "normal" people can do. They just need their community fashioned in a way that suits their needs, like the different textured pathways.

The main character soon learns that communication is not impossible, as he once thought. While it may be a bit slow at times, they can communicate using gestures with each other. He then meets a 13-year-old girl, named Pink, that becomes his guide for navigating the community since he doesn't understand handtalk but she can communicate with both handtalk and mouthtalk. The main character is surprised to learn that she can verbally talk as he was convinced that all of the inhabitants were deaf and blind. Pink explains, "Just the parents. I'm one of the children. We all hear and see quite well. Don't be so nervous. If you can't stand touching, you're not going to like it here. Relax, I won't hurt you... You'll need me to show you the ropes" (785-786). While parents and children are similar, they aren't the same. The adults/parents in the community had unique early experiences in development that led to their conditions, so it makes sense that the children are not identical. Pink is quite the intriguing character, and her name's backstory is quite interesting. She explains that she has a bunch of names in bodytalk, but if it was translated, she supposed it would be 'Pink.' The story behind her name was that her parents knew that babies were generally described as being pink--she was the first baby born to the community. Since she felt 'pink' to them, that became her name. Based on visual appearance, though, one would think it's a misnomer--Pink happens to have blue eyes, dark curly hair, and a dark skin tone that doesn't resemble pink in the slightest (786-787). Pink explains the rules to the main character--the most important rule is not to move anything. Ever. If anyone picks something up, it has to be put back exactly where they found it. That's the only way their community can work--it's how everyone knows where it is. Granted, furniture can be moved, but Pink explains that the move has to be decided at full meetings to ensure that all members of the community know where the furniture will be (787).

This community contrasts to what many people are accustomed to in a variety of ways, but their passion for cooking and food sounds amazing. The main character observes, "They ate with their fingers, without plates, and they did it slowly and lovingly. They smelled things for a long time before they took a bite. Eating was very sensual to these people. They were terrific cooks. I have never, before or since, eaten as well as I did at Keller... They started off with good, fresh produce, something that's hard enough to find in the cities, and went at the cooking with artistry and imagination. It wasn't like any national style I've eaten. They improvised, and seldom cooked the same thing the same way twice" (787-788). Some people may find that eating with hands and without plates is "uncivilized," but just because something is different doesn't make it bad/wrong. Frankly, they seem to have a better relationship with their food than many people in today's society. It feels like people tend to inhale their food rather than appreciate it; granted, I can't say that I haven't been guilty of that. Growing up, family dinner always seemed speedy, as if it had to be done fast in order to accomplish all of the other things that needed to be done. There wasn't time to properly appreciate and savor your meal. That, unfortunately, because a habit, leading to me also multi-tasking at times while eating. Society may be supposedly "more civilized" with all it's various tools, utensils, and technologies, but that doesn't make it inherently better. A lot of the meals I've experienced haven't had the flare, passion, and creative imagination of their community--today's society feels a bit lacking in those categories. I think it'd be fun to experience their version of a meal. I'm not saying I'd be all that successful at an attempt since I've been conditioned to eat in the exact opposite manner, but I think it'd be an enlightening experience. Life there in Keller is so different to the city/suburban life many of us are used to. The main character ends up spending a lot of time with this community, learning their ways of life. He remarks, "Life was fulfilling out there in a way it has never been in cities. It wasn't unique to Keller, this pastoral peace, but the people there had it in generous helpings. The earth beneath your bare feet is something you can never feel in a city park. Daily life was busy and satisfying... It all seemed to fit together without any apparent effort. Everybody seemed to know what to do when it needed doing... I thought of it as an organism. Any social group is, but this one worked. Most of the other communes I'd visited had glaring flaws. Things would not get done because everyone was too stoned or couldn't be bothered or didn't see the necessity of doing it in the first place... Not here. They had a good picture of the world as it is, not the rosy misconceptions so many other utopians labor under... There were three superb meals a day. And there was leisure time, too. It was not all work. There was time to take a friend out and sit in the grass under a tree, usually around sunset, just before the big dinner. There was time for someone to stop working for a few minutes, to share some special treasure" (794- 795).To be completely honest, this kind of life is extremely appealing to me. Don't get me wrong, modern society has it's advantages and perks, but it's not perfect. It often feels too hectic, too rushed, too chaotic. People often are frantically scrambling to get everything done, living jam-packed schedules and not having time to adequately take care of themselves. Work and being productive becomes the priority, leaving self-care and well being to fall to the wayside. We're often told that there's not time to pause to savor and share precious finds or stop and smell the roses. We're constantly on the go, and it isn't healthy. The community of Keller feels like a life full of meaning. There's purposeful work. I'd like to find a community like that. It feels so homey and caring.

Even though their dining hall was quiet, there was plenty of communication going on, as the main character soon finds out. He remarks, "I had thought they were eating in solitude, but soon saw that lively conversation was flowing around the table. Hands were busy, moving almost too fast to see. They were spelling into each other's palms, shoulders, legs, arms, bellies; any part of the body. I watched in amazement as a ripple of laughter spread like falling dominoes from one end of the table to the other as some witticism was passed along the line. It was fast. Looking carefully, I could see the thoughts moving, reaching one person, passed on while a reply went back in the other direction and was in turn passed on, other replies originating all along the line and bouncing back and forth. They were a wave form like water. It was messy. Let's face it; eating with your fingers and talking with your hands is going to get you smeared with food. But no one minded. I certainly didn't. I was too busy feeling left out. Pink talked to me, but I knew I was finding out what it's like to be deaf. These people were friendly and seemed to like me, but could do nothing about it. We couldn't communicate" (788). Communication has many forms. Verbal communication can be helpful, but a lot of our communication is actually nonverbal, like body language. This community is taking advantage of nonverbal communication and disregarding verbal communication, as it would literally fall upon deaf ears for the bulk of its population (the only ones that would be able to hear would be the group of children). Communication is not impossible between two different groups. It can at times be a bit challenging, but that doesn't make it impossible. One can learn if they're willing. It will require an open mind to understand, but it isn't impossible. People learn a second or third language often. The other language/culture may be different, but there can still be communication.

The main character ends up learning how to talk with the inhabitants of Keller. He recognizes that their communication is different than his. He notes, "Now this is going to sound crazy, I know. It sounded pretty crazy to me when I thought of it. It dawned on me with a sort of revelation that her world for talk and mine were miles apart. Talk, to her, meant a complex interchange involving all parts of the body. She could read words or emotions in every twitch of my muscles, like a lie detector. Sound, to her, was only a minor part of communication. It was something she used to speak to outsiders. Pink talked with her whole being... They talked with their bodies. It wasn't all hands, as I'd thought. Any part of the body in contact with any other was communication, sometimes a very simple and basic sort" (790). Granted, the inhabitants of Keller are not the only ones to talk with their bodies--there's sign language and a number of people talk while using their hands for emphasis. The inhabitants take this kind of communication to a whole different level, though. The main character begins learning the different forms of communication of Keller, starting with handtalk. He explains, "I learned about the basic alphabet and practiced hard at it... She [Pink] would speak only when pressed hard, and eventually not at all. I scarcely spoke a single word after the third day. This is not to say that I was suddenly fluent. Not at all... For a long time I had to look at the hand to see what was spelled. But like any language, eventually you think it it... I can recall my amazement when I finally reached the point where I wasn't translating my thoughts before I spoke. I reached it at Keller in about two weeks" (792). No matter how different something is, you can learn it if you're open and willing. It may take some time, but it's possible. The main character continues, "I had thought that learning handtalk was the key to communication with them. Not so. Handtalk was baby talk... By handtalk I mean the International Manual Alphabet. Anyone can learn it in a few hours or days. But when you talk to someone in speech, do you spell each word? ...No, you grasp words as entities, hear groups of sounds and see groups of letters as a gestalt full of meaning... While still children they had understood the fact that handtalk was a way for blind-deaf people to talk to outsiders. Among themselves it was much too cumbersome. It was like Morse Code: Useful when you're limited to on-off modes of information transmission, but not the preferred mode. Their ways of speaking to each other were much closer to our type of written or verbal communication, and--dare say it?--better. I discovered this slowly, first by seeing that though I could spell rapidly with my hands, it took much longer for me to say something than it took anyone else. It could not be explained by differences in dexterity. So I asked to be taught their shorthand speech" (798-799). Continue to learn. Continue to grow. Continue to improve. Your story isn't over yet, so don't let yourself stagnate. Keep adding to your toolbox, no matter which skill you decide to add. The main character continues to describe Keller's communication, describing, "I had learned handtalk in a few easy lessons. Then I became aware of shorthand and bodytalk... It [bodytalk] was a variable and highly interpersonal language that evolved according to the person, the time, the mood. But I was learning. Then I became aware of Touch... Then the depths of what I had been missing opened beneath me and I was suddenly breathless with fear of heights. Touch was what they spoke to each other. It was an incredible blend of all three other modes I had learned, and the essence of it was that it never stayed the same. I could listen to them speak to me in shorthand, which was the real basis for Touch, and be aware of the currents of Touch flowing just beneath the surface. It was a language of inventing languages. Everyone spoke their own dialect because everyone was a different instrument: a different body and set of life experiences. It was modified by everything. It would not stand still" (804-805). It's amazing how free Keller's language is. It flows so smoothly and naturally. Imagine what it'd be like if our communication were as alive and free as Keller's. Keller's inhabitants are all unified yet they are each their own individual with a unique flare.

One of the last things the main character learns about is *** (there is no verbal translation of this word).The only ones able to *** are the adults of Keller, the blind and deaf. As much as the parents and children are close and love each other, the children are frustrated and want to figure out why they are unable to ***. The main character explains,

"She [Pink] was upset and sad. Her body said something like 'Why can't I join them [the parents]? Why can't I (smell-taste-touch-hear-see) sense with them?' ... I found the adults, after a short search of the area, out in the north pasture. All the parents, none of the children. They were standing in a group with no apparent pattern. It wasn't a circle, but it was round. If there was any organization, it was in the fact that everybody was about the same distance from everybody else... Their [the dogs'] ears were perked up, but they were not moving [as they faced the group]. I started to go to the people. I stopped when I became aware of the concentration. They were touching, but their hands were not moving. The silence of seeing all those permanently moving people standing that still was deafening to me... It gradually dawned on me that the group was moving. It was very slow, just a step here and another there, over many minutes. It was expanding in such a way that the distance between any of the individuals was the same. Like the expanding universe, where all galaxies move away from all others. Their arms were extended now; they were touching with only fingertips, in a crystal lattice arrangement. Finally they were not touching at all. I saw their fingers straining to cover the distances that were too far to bridge. And still they expanded equilaterally... I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up... I closed my eyes, suddenly sleepy. I opened them, shocked. Then I forced them shut... There was something in the darkness of behind my eyeballs. I felt that if I could turn my eyes around I would see it easily, but it eluded me in a way that made peripheral vision seem like reading headlines... It tickled me for a while as the dogs whimpered louder... I opened my eyes again. Pink was standing there beside me. Her eyes were screwed shut, and she was covering her ears with her hands... Behind her were several of the older children. They were all doing the same thing. Some quality of the night changed. The people in the group were about a foot away from each other now, and suddenly their pattern broke. They all swayed for a moment, then laughed... They fell in the grass and held their bellies, rolled over and over and roared. Pink was laughing. To my surprise, so was I. I laughed until my face and sides were hurting... And that was ***ing... And about once a week all the parents went out to the field and ***ed" (800-803).

*** seems to be a kind of meditation, channeling, or even a type of astral travel. They're tapping into some powerful energy. Pink explains ***, remarking, "It is the mode of touching without touching... It is the gift whereby one can expand oneself from the eternal quiet and dark into something else... It is an attribute of being in the quiet and dark all the time, touching others. All I know for sure is that vision and hearing preclude it or obscure it. I can make it as quiet and dark as I possibly can and be aware of the edges of it, but the visual orientation of the mind persists. That door is closed to me, and to all the children" (805). It seems like it's a lot easier to tap into it for the adults of Keller since they don't have the distractions of sight and hearing. When meditating, it's helpful to tune out distractions and quiet the mind. I would imagine that it's easier to do so with less input from the sense (they're already in a quiet, dark world). I believe that's why the others got frustrated that no matter how hard they tried, they only managed to touch the fringes of *** (that and maybe they were trying too hard--forcing things to happen rarely works very well). I don't know what *** is exactly, but it emphasizes that there's much more to our world, our universe than what we can experience with our senses. Our sense are great tools, but the human senses are limited in the data they can receive and interpret. Years later in the story, the adults have disappeared, and Pink and the other children have turned deaf and blind. A lot of people would find that to be a "bad" thing, the loss of two of their senses. The children don't feel it is a bad thing; they can now experience *** just like their parents. While I don't think that people need to necessarily go to extremes and lose their senses to be able to experience such things like ***. That would likely make it easier, but with enough dedication, focus, perseverance, and development of skills one can achieve what they set their minds to.

When I finished reading the story, I was a bit confused because in my memory the main character had also contacted aliens in this story (I do enjoy the story, though). I did some contemplation in regards to this and upon reflection realized that my memory had combined two different short stories from the mysteries of language course into a single story in my recollection. The alien story I had been thinking of was Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life." Another great story and read. This story follows a linguist's journey; she ends up contacting a galactic race on behalf of the government on a team with a physicist. They communicate with the beings via a looking glass; a number of these looking glasses appeared all over the world (I think it was around 21 in total). The story ends up being told as a blend of past, present, and future, mirroring how the galactic beings (dubbed heptapods) experience the universe. The heptapods are described as looking "like a barrel suspended at the intersection of seven limbs. It was radially symmetric, and any of its limbs could serve as an arm or a leg... Its limbs had no distinct joints... the heptapod's limbs conspired to move it in a disconcertingly fluid manner. Its 'torso' rode atop the rippling limbs as smoothly as a hovercraft. Seven lidless eyes ringed the top of the heptapod's body... with eyes on all sides, any direction might as well be 'forward'" (5). These beings are drastically different than humans, and they view things drastically differently--everything to them happens simultaneously (more or less, they know the future).

The groups communicate about all sorts of topics. The humans (the government heavily pushing for it) repeatedly ask why the heptapods are communicating/why they came; the Heptapods reply simply each time: to see or to observe (17). They never expand further on their reasoning. They answer the humans' questions, but they don't ask any of their own, unless asking for clarification. They likely are playing a part on the stage of the universe; they know they have a role to play and show up to fulfill their part. The physicists try to get a deeper understanding of the universe through the heptapods; they struggle reaching an understanding because human and heptapods ideas of simple are different. Dr. Banks notes, "the heptapods' formulation of physics was indeed topsy-turvy relative to ours. Physical attributes that humans defined using integral calculus were seen as fundamental by the heptapods... Calculus for us; elementary to them. Conversely, to define attributes that humans thought of as fundamental, like velocity, the heptapods employed mathematics that were, Gary assured me, 'highly weird.' They physicists were ultimately able to prove the equivalence of heptapod mathematics and human mathematics; even though their approaches were almost the reverse of one another, both were systems of describing the same physical universe" (20). Even though the two different species go about describing the universe in different ways, they experience the same universe. Heptapod writing (dubbed "Heptapod B") is more like a piece of art; Dr. Louise Banks remarks, "When it came to sentences in Heptapod B, though, things became much more confusing. The language had no written punctuation... When a Heptapod B sentence grew fairly sizable, its visual impact was remarkable. If I wasn't trying to decipher it, the writing looked like fanciful praying mantids drawn in a cursive style, all clinging to each other to form an Escheresque lattice, each slightly different in its stance. And the biggest sentences had an effect similar to that of psychedelic posters: sometimes eye-watering, sometimes hypnotic" (16). When Dr. Banks studies how the heptapods write, she notices that when they start writing their sentence, "all that was visible onscreen was a single sinuous line. Comparing that initial stroke with the completed sentence, I realized that the stroke participated in several different clauses of the message... Yet this stroke was a single continuous line, and it was the first one that Flapper wrote. That meant the heptapod had to know how the entire sentence would be laid out before it could write the very first stroke. The other strokes in the sentence also traversed several clauses, making them so interconnected than none could be removed without redesigning the entire sentence. The heptapods didn't write a sentence one semagram at a time; they built it out of the strokes irrespective of individual semagrams. I had seen a similarly high degree of integration before in calligraphic designs, particularly those employing the Arabic alphabet. But those designs had required careful planning by expert calligraphers. No one could lay out such an intricate design at the speed needed for holding a conversation. At least, no human could" (22-23). Their writing demonstrates the interconnectedness of everything; they experience everything simultaneously, past, present, and future interconnected like the words of their writing--you can separate any one part without altering the rest of the story/message. Thusly, if one were to change the past or present, it would change the rest of the future. Humans view the world as sequential, and, similarly, our writing is sequential. Dr Bank notes, "More interesting was the fact that Heptapod B was changing the way I thought. For me, thinking typically meant speaking in an internal voice as we say in the trade, my thoughts were phonologically coded. My internal voice normally spoke in English... The idea of thinking in a linguistic yet non-phonological mode always intrigued me. I had a friend born of deaf parents; he grew up using American Sign Langauge, and he told me that he often thought in ASL, instead of English. I used to wonder what it was like to have one's thoughts be manually coded, to reason using an inner pair of hands instead of an inner voice. With Heptapod B, I was experiencing something just as foreign: my thoughts were becoming graphically coded. There were trance-like moments during the day when my thoughts weren't expressed with my internal voice; instead, I saw semagrams with my mind's eye, sprouting like frost on a windowpane. As I grew more fluent, semagraphic designs would appear fully-formed, articulating even complex ideas all at once... Instead of racing forward, my mind hung balanced on the symmetry underlying the semagrams. The semagrams seemed to be more than language; they were almost like mandalas. I found myself in a meditative state, contemplating the way in which premises and conclusions were interchangeable. There was no direction inherent in the way propositions were connected, no 'train of thought' moving along a particular route; all the components in an act of reasoning were equally powerful, all having identical precedence" (25-26). As humans, we may be used to doing things a particular way, but that doesn't mean it's the only way (or the best way). It's okay to have direction or a "train of thought" all the time. Many things can be equally important and happen all at once. Dr. Banks recognizes, "Humans had developed a sequential mode of awareness, while heptapods had developed a simultaneous mode of awareness. We experienced events in an order, and perceived their relationship as cause and effect. They experienced all events at once, and perceived a purpose underlying them all" (31).There are so many ways to experience and understand the universe; there is no sole "right" way to do so. Drastically different methods can equally be "correct." Dr. Banks observes, "Looking at a sentence like this one, I understood why the heptapods had evolved a semasiographic writing system like Heptapod B; it was better suited for a species with a simultaneous mode of consciousness. For them, speech was a bottleneck because it required that one word follow another sequentially. With writing, on the other hand, every mark on a page was visible simultaneously. Why constrain writing with a glottographic straightjacket, demanding that it was just as sequential as speech? It would never occur to them. Semasiographic writing naturally took advantage of the page's two-dimensionality; instead of dolling out morphemes one at a time, it offered an entire page full of them all at once. And now that Heptapod B had introduced me to a simultaneous mode of consciousness, I understood the rationale behind Heptapod A's grammar: what my sequential mind had perceived as unnecessarily convoluted, I now recognized as an attempt to provide flexibility within the confines of sequential speech. I could use Heptapod A more easily as a result, thought it was still a poor substitute for Heptapod B" (31-32). Our way is not the best way for everyone. Other ways (like how the community of Keller created methods that worked best for them) can be better fits for other people/beings. Different isn't necessarily "wrong" or "bad." It's just different. It works for them.

Is it possible to know the future? There are a number of psychics out there, those that experience intuition and de ja vu. Dr. Louise Banks contemplates,

"Was it actually possible to know the future? Not simply to guess at it; was it possible to know what was going to happen, with absolute certainty and in specific detail? ... some might say, 'yes, theoretically.' But speaking more concretely, most would answer 'no,' because of free will. I like to imagine the objection as a Borgesian fabulation: consider a person standing before the Book of Ages, the chronicle that records every event, past and future. Even though the text has been photoreduced from the full-sized edition, the volume is enormous. With magnifier in hand, she flips through the tissue-thin leaves until she locates the story of her life. She finds the passage that describes her flipping through the Book of Ages, and she skips to the next column, where it details what she'll be doing later in the day: acting on information she's read in the Book, she'll bet one hundred dollars on the racehorse Devil May Care and win twenty times as much. The thought of doing just that had crossed her mind, but being a very contrary sort, she now resolves to refrain from betting on the ponies altogether. There's the rub. The Book of Ages cannot be wrong; this scenario is based on the premise that a person given knowledge of the actual future, not of some possible future... The result is a contradiction: the Book of Ages must be right, by definition; yet no matter what the Book says she'll do, she can choose to do otherwise. How can these two facts be reconciled? They can't be, was the common answer. A volume like the Book of Ages is a logical impossibility, for the precise reason that its existence would result in the above contradiction. Or, to be generous, some might say that the Book of Ages could exist, as long as it wasn't accessible to readers: that volume is housed in a special collection, and no one has viewing privileges. The existence of free will meant that we couldn't know the future. And we knew free will existed because we had direct experience of it. Volition was an intrinsic part of conciseness. Or was it? What if the experience of knowing the future changed a person? What if it evoked a sense of urgency, a sense of obligation to act precisely as she knew she would?" (28-29).

The Book of Ages sounds an awful lot like the Akashic Records. Everything that ever happened, is happening, and will happened is documented. The heptapods seem to have access to these records, but they don't take advantage of this knowing. Dr. Banks explains, "The heptapods are neither free nor bound as we understand those concepts; they don't act according to their will, nor are they helpless automatons. What distinguishes the heptapods' mode of awareness is not just what their actions coincide with history's events; it is also that their motives coincide with history's purposes. They act to create the future, to enact chronology. Freedom isn't an illusion; it's perfectly real in the context of sequential consciousness. Within the context of simultaneous consciousness, freedom is not meaningful, but neither is coercion; it's simply a different context, no more or less valid than the other... There's no 'correct' interpretation; both are equally valid. But you can't see both at the same time. Similarly, knowledge of the future was incompatible with free will. What made it possible for me to exercise freedom of choice also made it impossible for me to know the future. Conversely, now that I know the future, I would never act contrary to that future, including telling others what I know: those who know the future don't talk about it... For the heptapods, all language was performative. Instead of using language to inform, they used language to actualize. Sure, heptapods already know what would be said in any conversation; but in order for their knowledge to be true, the conversation would have to take place" (33-34). Everything is interconnected. If you would choose not to contribute to a conversation that is meant to take place, the whole timeline/storyline would change, like the butterfly effect. Dr. Banks grasps this concept, noting, "I know what I had to say... I suddenly remembered that a morphological relative of 'performative' was 'performance,' which could describe the sensation of conversing when you knew what would be said: it was like performing in a play" (34). This makes me think about Shakespeare's quote about the entire world being a stage; we're all taking place in a play, whether we recognize it or not. No matter what we do, we may have "free will" and choice, but there's simultaneously "destiny." This resonates so much with the times.

As always, I enjoyed Scott Westerfeld's latest book, Mirror's Edge. I didn't want to put it down; I become quite immersed in the book's world. The ending bothered me a little bit--it's completely believable based on the characters, but it was not the ending I was hoping for. Overall, the ending was fine--it's just this one incident in the ending that bugs me. The ending makes me think there will be a fourth book, and I look forward to seeing an original Uglies character make her return! I know Corliss will enjoy this latest installment of the Impostors series, too.

As those of you that read the earlier post may recall, Corliss has been working on crafting her own short story. I had helped her work on editing the story previously. Good news: Corliss posted her short story! For anyone that wants to check it out, feel free to head here: It's Time. She also was vibing with this song this week:

I went on some evening walks with April, her mom, and Iris. It was a lot nicer than if we had gone on a walk during the day/afternoon--it gets so hot. Iris told me that she found a mean worm because it hissed at her. She also had us run away from the mean monster that wanted to zap us (there was an electrical box with a sticker warning of the danger of being shocked--the electricity did kind of look like a monster with a mean face). Chloe followed us around on our walk around the neighborhood (a lot like she did years ago with April and me). She told me all about her new hamster, Echo, and how Kira and Chloe like to say hi. Iris wanted me to watch her as she ran, balanced on a wood ledge, and jumped. She's quite the character. She loved stomping on our shadows. She also found a worm and wanted to have a picture of her showing off her new worm friend. She's a bit obsessed with finding worms and carrying them around with her.

It was a fun week of babysitting. I hung out with the boys this week. The older of the two started an online P.E. class, so we would spend the morning walking at the park while his brother had swim practice. It was rather nice. We saw a lot of chalk drawings as we wandered around.

I also did a little bit of babysitting for another family, and the kids were super excited to see me. I brought birthday presents since the girl's birthday was earlier this week and her brother's was last month. They were so excited and eager to dig into their gifts I brought with me. When they opened them, they exclaimed that I was the best babysitter EVER in the whole world. They insisted this was an irrefutable fact. I'm glad I could brighten their days and share some happiness with them. I'm also grateful my gift-giving is still spot on; people always tell me that I give the best gifts, but every now and then I wonder if what I picked out is the right fit. I know that the sister adores crafts and thought she'd like sand art and a create your own water bottle--apparently she's been wanting that kind of water bottle for the longest and now wants to get more sand art. Her brother adores Pokemon (she does, as well, but not to the same degree as he does). He was super psyched about his Pokemon cards, Pikachu light, and Raichu Funko Pop. Turns out he was wanting to start a Funko Pop collection. I'm glad my intuition on what to give turned out accurate. I really need to stop doubting myself 🤣 We had lots of fun making crafts and playing some games. They decided that I was spending the night since the power was out at my home still at that point and that they would make me pancakes for breakfast (lol). I didn't end up staying since I didn't have any of my things, but I love how they want to spend time with me and look out for me. They're super sweet.

My new phone arrived this week! I look forward to not having text messages not taking anywhere from 5-15 minutes to load. Aside from shutting down spontaneously at times and the long time to load messages, there's nothing wrong with my phone. Some of the messages I receive are time sensitive, though, which means that getting a new phone was quite beneficial. It seems to be working rather well from the few days I've had it.

I found an invitation that was "from my cousin, Addie." It's quite the humorous invite (I love my aunt's sense of humor; she influenced me quite a bit since she was the one that babysat us all the time as kids).

I received more Divine $9 goodies from Spiritual Supermall as well as the July box from Goddess Provisions this week; it's always exciting to get new goodies from them!

The second tumble cycle finished this week! It was exciting seeing the stones/crystals along their polishing transformation. My mom was eager to see how these turned out because she got curious when she heard I bought a rock tumbler. The third cycle got interrupted by the 38 hour power outage, but I don't think it will cause any issues. There's an option to pause the tumbler, and since nature usually takes hundreds if not thousands of years to tumble the stones naturally (and it's not continuous all of those years). We'll have to wait a couple more days to see how cycle three has progressed.

Artwork for this week includes a variety of paintings and a painting collage of April's cat Chloe (since her mom requested that I make one). I would have created more art, but the house was pretty dark this weekend with our long-lasting power outage.

I did a bit of fanfic reading this week (althoguh I did a lot more reading of short stories and books with the power being out). Fanfic for this week includes: A Slumber Party (with a Cat, Hot Tea, and a Sesshomaru), The Third Time, A Female Machinist, A Magical Bracelet, and the Mayor's Eldest Son, Christmas in Chiba, Zashiki-Warashi, Valentine’s Cards- an American Classroom Tradition, and Conversations Over Tea.

A lot’s happening. It can be a crazy ride sometimes. Breathe. Allow yourself to feel. Allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to rest. Allow yourself to be. There’s no one else you need to be. You’re exactly who you need to be. Please, take care of yourself and be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can. You’re learning as you grow. Your story isn’t finished yet. Turn the page and see what lies in wait in your next chapter. The universe loves to surprise us, and it has our backs. It’ll be okay. It’ll work out in the end, even if we can’t see it yet. We’ve got this. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll reach your destination. Embrace love; it’s a powerful force and can change the world. Stay blessed with love and light, everyone~

Here's some food for thought from Ralph Smart on Infinite Waters:

Some food for thought:

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