Paris, Île-de-France, France

August 28, 2016

A Last Stretch of Summer

Summer is winding down here in Paris. Folks are slowly returning from their vacations, and shop windows are filling up with this fall's collection.

Here in my first-floor apartment, a single dry leaf just blew in my open door - crisp, but honest.

There's a hint of chill in the air at night, and you can see it in people you pass on the street – That was lovely. Now it's time for something different.

Seasons have become a strange thing in this constantly-traveling life of mine. Two months ago, I was in the dead of winter in Argentina. Now, I'm feeling summer wind down. A few months from now, I might be in winter or summer or spring - even I don't know yet.

I gain sunlight, new experiences, and a sharper contrast — but I lose the natural rhythm of the year.

Every culture on the planet has a deep relationship to the seasons. From the four-season polar latitudes, to the wet/dry equatorial regions, the flow of the year is intertwined with our holidays and rituals, our collective stories and actions, our school years and sports seasons.

But what I Iove most about these changings of the guard is that they remind us that — despite our 24-hour access to light, temperature regulation, and stimulus — we're still the same animals we were, in those long nights on the savannah.

It's incredible, really, to think of what we've built. Imagine thousands of tigers wandering in and out of apartment complexes, collectively hauling supplies over to build even more. That - truly - is what we are. Wonderful wild creatures with a crazy imagination.

We've built safe shelter, reliable ways to get food, and even turned some rare bits of soil into the devices sitting in each of our hands right now.

Crazy, magical contraptions that let me bring the winds of Paris from halfway across the planet, and place them right here, in your very hands.

Smushed bits of rock and sand that let you tap your fingers, and send a little of your world right back.

What an astounding time we live in. I'm so glad I get to share it with you. :)

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read this week made me squirm a little and think a lot: this article in The Atlantic on why there's no such thing as free will - but we should go on believing in it anyhow.

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