Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Solstice of an epoch

On this winter solstice -- the shortest and darkest day in the northern hemisphere -- I am starting the 51st winter of my life.  I like winters, but there is bias against them and against snow. It's raining today, and only a small minority of us would prefer it to be snowing...  In Italy, age is expressed in "primavere" (springs) not in "winter" units.
In Venice, we measure the passing of years in barette, which many of my fellow-citizens would instinctively associate with hats (i.e. winter clothing), but "cinquanta barette" probably refers instead to the hash marks a prisoner would carve on the wall of his cell, tracking the passing of a year with a short little bar, until -- after four -- the fifth diagonal strike would bundle a lustre.  I have lived 10 lusters, so I hope my 11th one can be illustrious and not as lackluster as its most recent predecessor has been for me.
It's been a while since I last updated this blog and lots has happened.
Most recently -- last week -- the 8 teams of WPI students who spent term B (October-December) in Venice with me, successfully completed their projects and returned to the States, as I have dutifully done myself.  I am in Spencer right now, about to go to Santa Fe, to be reunited with Nick, who has been rather distressed by his adolescent love life in his difficult transition to adulthood. We will be spending the holidays together and will return to New England in mid-January right before his 21st birthday.
As the sun has reached its lowest arc today, but will henceforth bring us longer and brighter days, so it seems that our society may be reaching its ebb point and we may be living through the solstice of an epoch, which may inaugurate a new era of global enlightenment. It just may be so, but it's hard to witness epochal transformations from within, though we all sense major change is happening all around us.
Will a global governance system emerge from the ashes of failed countries?  Will humanity graduate to a stable adulthood after such a troublesome adolescence?  Let's hope so.

Will I blog again before Christmas?  Hmmm...  I doubt it.  So...


And enjoy this time of solstice.
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