EDITOR'S LETTER: September/October 2017

September 15, 2017


I have always been intrigued by the shape of things: how things stand alone and how things fit together.  Buildings and sentences and families all have a certain dynamic, static and flowing, permanent and ephemeral, history and future. Shape is in some instances solid, three dimensional, moving and shaded only by time and light; and in others undergoing constant redefinition, coded and explained by action and words.


The inanimate shapes, the still foundations of our civilization, often inspire us: art and architecture and construction. There is awe in these shapes and in their making, even the most mundane and pedestrian. There is effort we don’t see:  plans and drawing, lines and curves, sketches and enquiry. There is contemplated genius: attentive and thorough and virtuosic. The endeavor of creation is always a wonder; the simple construction of a road or a building, in observation, is a hive of coordination and activity, positive and measured. Once completed, whether utilitarian or monument, of function or of art, there it stands, used or simply admired, acknowledged or perhaps misunderstood...a testament.


The animate shape of things, a consciousness individual and collective: our physical or mental well-being, the health of our communities, the state of our nation…these are active, requiring attention and engagement. The condition of our neighborhoods requires our public involvement; the strength of our families requires our private attention, and the content of our communities, local and global, requires our moral commitment. Just as vision will save us from peril, so will ethic and understanding. We must find passionate compassion, an unwavering attention to those that surround us. And we must rise up and speak with greater conviction and certainty and care, and take the high ground against low thought.


Today, the shape of real things is our challenge. The shape of generations to come is our responsibility. The shape of our climate, our world, our humanity is being twisted and wrung by noise and silence. The shape of our future is being determined today by other voice and action…and our voices and actions must ring out. There is freedom ahead for the brave and constant; there is power there; and there is a civil world of our creation there.


We are and have forever been a people of hope and faith, of the future, of the possible. The past exists to expose tribulation and trial and now to example challenge and victory; the past is to lay bare the ragged fabric of old societies and now to re-knit the cloth into a strong and durable pattern that speaks for and envelops us all.  We are here and it is now: where there is a cold and angry wind, we must not just seek shelter, but we must stand against it.

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