Entropy and Me

This really isn’t just about me, but I couldn’t resist–entropy being, for those who need a reminder of their undergrad science classes, the state I’m heading toward, which we all are heading towards, some of us already there. I’m reading a book for my fall class called The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, by Tom Wessels, for, of all things, you might say, my course on Utopias, Dystopias, and Intentional Communities. But here’s the glue (ironically): entropy.

So a quick review. When the world began we were anti-entropic, a state wherein a complex system grows, taking in more energy than it releases; at maturity–where we’ve been for over 3 billion years on earth, a state of dynamic equilibrium, where there is balance between the taking in and releasing of energy. The third thing that happens is entropy–what we humans have been accelerating since the Industrial Revolution, a process that’s speeding up as we devour oil and shit out pollution.

The essence of entropy is a move from complex to simple or from concentration to diffusion, expending more energy than is taken in–think of a tree trunk, now in its entropic step toward re-integration into the earth. It began anti-entropic, that little acorn, taking in lots and lots of energy so that it grew to its adult magnificence. Equilibrium for a number of years, even those in which a drought or flood or fire occurred, and now that it is “dying,” it is no longer taking in energy but only giving it back–feeding all those creatures that are anti-entropic. Every complex system goes through this process, which we call the “life cycle.”

I think Wessels’ small book is good for my class because we are focusing on Ecological Crisis. Intentional communities are increasing in number–“commoners” another book I want to use calls them (Tom Bollier), those seeking a life where “the commons” are again respected and plentiful. The capitalist economy, both Bollier and Wessels say, is a complex system that is in its entropic stage. Another of those complex systems to join the ranks of the entropic is patriarchy. These are dying systems that cannot (if they ever could) accommodate for the realities of life–the individual, the community–because they assume a) control and hierarchy and b) unending progress. They (in various iterations) have gone hand in hand in our world for enough centuries to have caused enough damage, heartache, war, degradation to feel, well, a little bit delirious at the signs of their decay.

Or I would if it weren’t for another reality that comes with the entropic disintegration of a complex system like capitalism or patriarchy, and that’s backlash. Look around–can we say that the increase in hate radio, hate campaigns, hate wars, and hate policies is due to “advances” in technology alone? I agree that technology has sped up everything, accelerating the insecurity, uncertainty, anxiety that comes with massive social and environmental change. But I see the growing number of frantic acts as signs of desperation. A drowning white man (in a suit) grasping for anything as his little chunk of ice gets smaller and smaller in a big, salty, warming sea.

And here’s where we have to turn off our 24/7 news channels and instead skim the titles of a decent newspaper, dip in here and there to read (know what’s going on in the Ukraine, the Congo, LA), and then go in search of Something Else. Find the people and places where Something Else is going on. Where people who are able to make choices are. Option A Same Old Same Old–using hot water to wash their clothes, driving gas guzzlers, tossing plastic into the trash, feeling hostile. Option B Choose the anti-entropic action instead: cold water, bicycles/walking/fewer trips, recycling, practicing small acts of kindness. . . . I still feel hostile some days, but I have not surrendered to it.

So when we look at such dyspopic works as Atwood’s Oryx and Crake or McCarthy’s The Road, both of which I’m using in my class, we see the entropic direction of our current path taken to the logical conclusion, what’s next for Planet Earth and Creature Human. When we look at the impulse toward complexity (diversity) and away from simplicity (mono-agriculture) we see life-affirming action seeking equilibruium, stretching to pull us back from the dystopic brink.

Loving Your Place

Tonight I went to a conversation hosted for Honors students at WKU by my colleagues Wolfang and Elizabeth, and the reason I went was because I wanted to think more about what Wendell Berry argues is crucial–for sustainability or resilience, or whatever term you want to use–for what needs to happen with regard to the happiness or livelihood of this place we call home. What does it mean, I wanted to hear others reflect on, to love your place?

The students offered some insights that I think are worth noting–that a place is tied up with the people we know there. This is true–how to disentangle the people that we know in the place we have come to love? (Why would we want to?) But I don’t think that our sense of place is limited to the people, and if it is, that seems to be a problem. Some of the students spoke about their time here in Bowling Green as temporary–they’re only here for four years or so and they anticipate leaving, so they feel no need to establish the kind of affection for a place that comes with time. I, too, spoke this way when I was an undergrad about my home in the other Bowling Green, in Ohio, where I lived for a short time knowing that it was not where I would “land.” I was a visitor, no need to invest myself in anything but the tasks at hand. (Or is that what I told myself while unconsciously I sent out tentacles of caring? I wrote some poems about the place, breathed in the air of the place, took from it. And 40 years later still store somewhere within the feel of that old farm house in the middle of the soy and corn fields where I lived.)

I told them, I speak as an old person, one who has come to understand that loving a place is an act of resistance. If we don’t care for the place we are now, then we more easily become a pawn. Loving a place is an act of resistance against corporate mentality, against the notion of disposability. If we say, “I’m only here for 4 years,” all those hours become one more disposable thing. Unimportant, unremarkable, unlovable. But if we can say instead, it matters, where I am, then we are enacting something that our throw-away, unsustainable, corporatized world has told us is no longer necessary to a modern way of being.

How do you love your place, not in an easy, packaged way, but in a real, deep way that locates you in the here and now, not in some fantasy of tomorrow? The past couple of nights I’ve stood outside my back door until the cold drove me in, watching white and gray clouds race across a nearly full moon. I listened to the wind. Is this what I love, these full bodied trees, now bare of leaves? The smell of wet leaves dense across the yard?

Berry casts us as either “stickers” or “boomers”: “’Boomer’ names a kind of person and a kind of ambition that is the major theme, so far, of the history of the European races in our country. ‘Sticker’ names a kind of person and also a desire that is, so far, a minor theme of that history, but a theme persistent enough to remain significant and to offer, still, a significant hope.

“The boomer is motivated by greed, the desire for money, property, and therefore power. . . . Stickers on the contrary are motivated by affection, by such love for a place and its life that they want to preserve it and remain in it.”

I don’t know that the world divides so neatly into two kinds of people, but Berry’s point is well taken. I think about the pressure we face–those of us who are educators in public institutions (and maybe the private ones too)–to ensure that our students get jobs, preferably right out of college, and preferably with benefits, a salary . . . pipeline to the American dream. How this leads to bottom line thinking, short term results, slippery ethics, corporatization, students as clients, fast-tracks, and hollowed out psyches. I think about how the drive to get a credential and screw the examined life translates into devaluing the humanities, political numbing, greater separation between classes, loss of self. Far smarter people than I have written books on this (Martha Nussbaum, David Orr, and Wendell Berry, to name three from very different pathways).

The very worst thing that happens is a failure of imagination, a closing off of the mind.

I like what David Orr says about the imagination, how crucial it is, and I believe what Paul Bogard says in his book The End of Night about the loss of night to increasing artificial lighting: “The aesthetic sense–the power to enjoy through the eye, and the ear, and the imagination–is just as important a factor in the scheme of human happiness as the corporeal sense of eating and drinking; but there has never been a time when the world would admit it” (214).

Doesn’t that sound like what Orr is getting at when he writes, “We have good reason to believe that human intelligence could not have evolved on the moon—a landscape devoid of biological diversity. We also have good reason to believe that the sense of awe toward the creation had a great deal to do with the origin of language and why early humans wanted to talk, sing, and write poetry in the first place” (reprinted in Hope Is An Imperative: The Essential David Orr, 249).

When we erase the humanities–in our education and in our daily lives–we surrender to the speed-up-and-make-a-buck mentality that flips a bird at what really matters, calling it irrelevant, dreamy, a luxury.

Here again is Wendell Berry on the notion of “stickers”–those who invest their lives in a certain place: “I will say, from my own belief and experience, that imagination thrives on contact, on tangible connection. For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it.” http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture

This is no soft focus, no optional discourse on love. When the money’s gone, the world we knew swept away by super storms and mega corporations, we’re going to have to look across the landscape and decide wherein we see ourselves.

Book Report: Dominion

The subtitle is “The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy,” and I’m considering using it for a spring semester course. It’s a devastating critique of our willful disregard of animal suffering. At worst, it’s about greed and arrogance so self-serving as to leave your mouth hanging open. It’s also about our lazy ignoring of what hear about the treatment of animals in factory farm, and the greed and hypocrisy of the people who argue that the animals like it. It’s also a defense of animal rights over time and of those who’ve fought corporate interests to ask for some human compassion for the needless suffering of animals at our service.

It’s not a likely book choice for me, written by Matthew Scully, a former speech writer for George Bush, a political conservative, a Christian, a right-to-lifer (I assume), with the nickname of the “most compassionate conservative.” But Scully is no sycophant to the republican agenda or easy quoter of Biblical passages to argue for another indefensible social policy. In fact, he is as hard on them as he is governmental and corporate suck-ups. On the other hand, it is a likely book for me because I am increasingly disgusted and horrified by the way animals are abused and tortured for our pleasure, with some weak rationale about our human superiority and “right” to their unequivocal surrender to whatever we demand of them.

Hence, the “dominion,” which we are Biblically admonished to hold over the creatures of the Earth. In his introduction wherein he talks about the Biblical roots of this dominion argument, he quotes a prayer from a 375AD bishop, who said, “We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to thee in song, has been a groan of travail” (13). Hmm, why does that sound so present-time, this “groan of travail”?

His response to the criticism that animals don’t deserve so much attention, that humans deserve our greater effort in eradicating the realities of oppression, is developed throughout the book, but this comment is characteristic: “One may view the creatures as morally incidental, as soulless beings for whom no bell ever tolls . . . . What one may not do under the guise of religious principle is deny that we have at least certain basic obligations of kindness, and that these obligations impose limits on our own conduct that today are simply not being observed” (18).

Here are some of the topics–

Safari Hunting. One can go to Africa, where one can bag big game, and at the Safari Club Int’l be recognized under a range of categories of achievement, such as the “African Big Five Grand Slam,” which means you’ve killed an elephant, a rhinoceros, a Cape buffalo, a lion, and a leopard, while the Bears of the World Grand Slam requires your killing an Alaska brown bear, a grizzly, a Eurasian Brown bear, and a polar bear. But one doesn’t have to travel that far. In the US and other countries, “farms” allow “hunters” to pay big sums to come in and shoot illegally gotten elephants, giraffe, zebras, lions, and tigers–or great animals bought when they had served their function from zoos and other “protectors” of animals, now too old to be worth gawking at behind bars. Scully sums it up, “Your typical trophy hunter today is hunting captive animals, and for all the skill and manhood it requires might as well do his stalking in a zoo” (63).

Whaling. Here we get into more international politics, with countries and native communities (with the urging and support of Japanese corporate interests, in one case) arguing everything from consumer demand to the protection of cultural uniqueness. Scully’s take: “Grasping their stricken prey by the flukes with a giant iron claw, swallowing them whole through a gaping mouth in the stern, stripping, boiling, and disassembling an entire whale in under an hour, these floating factories are among the ugliest creations of the human mind” (159).

Lest anyone feel to smug about what those people over there are doing to these beautiful creatures, Scully is quick to point out the hypocrisy of anyone on US soil suggesting that those other countries are morally corrupt in their desimating of vast populations of whale, while we retain our pristine purity. Buffalo, anyone? Passenger pigeons? Native Americans?

Do animals suffer? No? Okay, then no need to worry about any pain they might feel. Without the capacity to think about what suffering means, it’s not real pain. This is an example of the kind of contortions apologists for animal cruelty have gone to in order to show that it really doesn’t matter. One scientist (French) wrote that animals “‘eat without pleasure, they cry without sorry, they desire nothing, they fear nothing, they know nothing” (196). I like Scully’s use of irony throughout to point out hypocrisy, like this: “An animal to rate decent consideration in our hands doesn’t need to philosophize or orate or compose an Ode to Joy. If the creatures experience some humbler degree of thought or emotion, then that’s enough and the burden is thrown back upon us” (197).

Industrial Factory Farms. This is probably the most horrifying of all the atrocities detailed in this book, and worst of all is the pig farms. Read this and you’ll never buy Smithfield brand again–or any animal raised in such tortured chambers. We have heard about the horrors of the killing rooms, where the work is so soul-killing we have to go south of the border to find anyone to do the work. But we learn in “Deliver Me from My Necessities” that the torture begins with birth. In a tour through one factory barn, Scully is accompanied by an ironically named “Gay,” they pause in front of a cage labeled NPD 88-308. “‘Baby’ is lying there covered in feces and dried blood, yanking maniacally on chains that have torn her mouth raw, as foraging animals will do when caged and denied straw or other roughage to chew. She’s hurting herself with the chains, I remark. ‘Oh, that’s normal'” (266). And later: “Frenzied chewing on bars and chains, stereotypical ‘vacuum’ chewing on nothing at all, stereotypical rooting and nest building with imaginary straw. And ‘social defeat,’ lots of it, in every third or fourth stall some completely broken being you know is alive only because she blinks and stares up at you, . . . creatures beyond the power of pity to help or indifference to make more miserable” (268).

And what is this practice of “docking”? “Termed in the field a ‘short-term stressor,’ docking doesn’t remove the target [why target? because the animals are lined up so close to each other that the pig behind will inevitably chew on the tail in front]: The idea is to leave each tail more sensitive, so that the pain of a bite is sharper and the pigs will therefore try harder to avoid attack. Otherwise the pigs display what is known in both animal and human psychology as learned helplessness. They just give up, their tails get chewed and infected, the infection spreads, and they die an unauthorized death” (276).

Animals tested for science: everything from what we’ve learned already–that rabbits are held down so that toxic chemicals can be poured into their eyes so we can see what happens–to new developments in cloning that are crossing species in entirely creepy ways. Fortunately there’s some reprieve in this chapter, since Scully acknowledges the growing awareness that there are more effective ways to test the effects of this or that than on animals. Thanks to the efforts of some doctors and the animal rights activists who are so lambasted for being extremists, scientific experimenting has changed its emphasis on live animals to cells or computer diagnostics or even cadavers. Still, there’s the March of Dimes, which “each year devotes millions of dollars to experiments of the kind carried out by a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. . . . [which means] taking a group of kittens, sewing shut the eyelids of half of them while rearing the others for one year in total darkness, and then killing them all to examine the effects of this experience on their brains” (379). And March of Dimes has also “funded experiments administering massive doses of cocaine, nicotine and alcohol to animals, as if mankind has not himself [sic] provided sufficient data on the harmful effects of these substances” (379).

The last chapter is “Justice and Mercy” and is a collection of recommendations–largely legal and policy ones that often have no teeth. In addition we need to stop taking on faith “that if Science says research and testing are necessary, then it is not for us to question, and those who presume to do so must be radicals, misfits, and sure enough, as he [Cal Thomas] notes in the same column, ‘vegetarians,’ too” (378). Near the end, he provides a bulleted list of things the Humane Farming Act should do, and concludes with an homage to the people who make good what other people have attempted to ruin, “leaving behind them a trail of trouble and hurt” (393). There are sanctuaries increasingly given over to rescuing the “‘downed’ animals, the injured or sick who would just be tossed aside anyway” (396). What are they doing? “Lambs and calves forage, play, or lie together on straw in scenes recalling the lines from Oliver Goldsmith: ‘No flocks that range the valley free / To slaughter we condemn / Taught by power that pities us / We learn to pity them.'”

Big melons and rice crackers

This is the best summer for fruit and vegetables. Here, for instance, are our melons–actually I took these awhile ago and picked and ate our first one today. Last year you’d cut your foot on the grass if you walked barefoot outside. This year, sun by day, rain by night, making for one heck of a time to stay in to eat. Today I made rice crackers from scratch, thanks to my friend Barbara, who gave me her recipe….but first, the melons:

First, the infant, all fuzzy:

Fuzzy melon babe

Fuzzy melon babe

Then the first-grader:
Little bit older, less fuzz

Little bit older, less fuzz

Here’s one ready for its driving permit:
Getting there...but not ready for pickin

Getting there…but not ready for pickin

Here’s what they look like, hiding in the green. You walk up to your sea of green melon vines decorated with yellow flowers and wonder when the edibles will appear. You bend down and separate a leaf or two, and lo and behold, you’ve got 5 round husky fellas!
How melons hide

How melons hide

What do melons have to do with rice crackers? Today, they have today in common. Ate our first melon (sorry no pictures) and made our first batch of gluten-free rice crackers.

Barbara’s Recipe for Rice Crackers:

Rice Crackers

325 degrees

1. Cook 1 c short brown rice in 3 c. water (or if left-overs, 2 c.)
2. Add 3 T sesame seeds and process thoroughly
3. Add 1 t kelp and ½ t salt and rice flour as needed to knead
Or add 4 T pecan meal and ½ t salt
4. On marble or wood cutting board, form rectangle, pat out and add rice flour or pecan meal to flatten. Use a rolling pin well floured.
5. Cut into squares and put onto greased cookie sheet (not silicone or parchment paper)
6. Bake 25-35 min or until crispy and dry.

Note: before last roll/pat add a favorite seasoning:
• Garlic/herbs
• Chipotle pepper
• Cracked black pepper

Here are the visual enhancements:

Processed raw pecans (I had the 4 T and enough for next time)

Processed raw pecans (I had the 4 T and enough for next time)

Mix it all up with brown rice flower

Mix it all up with brown rice flower

Voila! Bon apetit, Julia Child!

Voila! Bon apetit, Julia Child!

Reading Pollan’s Cooked

Two things are happening that make me think: I’m going vegan again and reading Michael Pollan’s Cooked–first chapter on roasting, in particular, pigs. This creates an interesting weirdness, what psychology people call cognitive dissonance and what cultural critics call tension. So the question is, why are you doing this? It doesn’t make sense.

I could throw some Walt Whitman out there by way of explanations–do I contradict myself? Very well, I contain multitudes–but everyone seems to be grabbing this quote lately. Perhaps it’s because we are increasingly contradictory. But no, I suspect it’s because of social media–one person quotes Whitman and soon you see a dozen. I suppose it’s also possible that everyone isn’t grabbing this Whitman quote, which means I’m imagining things, again.

So, instead of throwing a dead poet into the mix, I’ll try the more direct route of just answering the question.

First, I am reading Cooked because I appreciate his work, have not read one of his books yet, heard him interviewed by Wendell Berry in Louisville a few weeks ago (which is another post, perhaps), and received a signed copy, along with the other four people who went with me. Rather than read it alone, I thought it would be more fun to read it in a group while cooking for each other and eating together. We’ll cook and read cooked. Our first meeting is June 23, so as I’m host I’m getting my reading done now in case I want to suggest any structure to our potluck, or leave it open to whimsy and serendipity.

In the introduction, there’s a passage I’ve been wanting to quote, which captures why I want to read more:

“Well, in a world where so few of us are obliges to cook at all anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization–against the total rationalization of life. Against the infiltration of commercial interests into every last cranny of our lives. To cook for the pleasure of it, . . . is to declare our independence from the corporations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumptions” (22). Hell, yes.

Moving on the chapter one, where the barbeque issue comes in. He has just finished describing the whole-hog smoke house of Skylight Inn, the “vestibule of hell” as the owner puts it. Here a half dozen gutted and splayed hogs are loaded onto the grill snout to butt, as the smoke fills the room. As Pollan puts it, “Of all the animals we eat, none resembles us more closely than the hog. Each the size of a grown man, hairless and pink its mouth set in what looks much like a sly smile”: this is the “hellish” reality of the bodies before us. There is nothing (yet) about the industrial farming and raising of these hogs, but perhaps for the purposes of the moment at hand, we can assume that they were raised without hormones or chemicals, allowed to breathe the free air, and to roam around to their piggish delight (as opposed to the alternative, which is “living room of hell” that we have created.

So, I’m thinking about how I can make something along the lines of a barbecue for the vegetarians in our reading group–and let the meat eaters worry about it from that side of things. Perhaps later in the chapter, I’ll find a recipe for bbq tofu . . . however, I suspect this will be a meal where I cook despite what I’m reading. And later chapters will likely be more fitting for those no longer going “whole hog.”

Which brings me to why vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian for two years now, and part of that time vegan. Without going into TMI, I’ll just say that it’s cleansing time, and a vegan diet always makes me feel inside and throughout as if the waterways (bloodways, cellways) are clean.

The other day someone I care about made a comment about “food nazis” because I can’t bear to have meat in the house that was raised industrially, killed as mass production. Critters raised in torture lots for our consumption. I don’t know why “nazi” language has to apply, and I think the person who said it probably regretted it. It’s just so easy to put “nazi” with anything that challenges one’s complacency….feminazis, food nazis. The irony is impressive, meaty! I recently heard a presentation that showed an image of Michelle Obama in front of a produce section in the midst of yelling (probably in reality she was cheering or laughing–she doesn’t look angry, though with the caption, you might think so), “Eat what I tell you to!” The strong reaction against her project to bring more vegetables into our diets surprised me, though now I don’t guess it should.

Well, that’s it for my reflection on food, pigs, vegetables, eating, sharing, reading, consumption, Nazis, and bodies.

August count-down

Well, I didn’t do very well with posting on this blog about the NEH institute, other than the one post from the first week. It was a great time–smart, interesting, and friendly, supportive participants, good organizers, and for the most part good “teachers” (experts who led the various units on sustainability–history, literature, philosophy, and religion). Was there a bit of ego on display? Some old-school lecture style of presentation? Stultifying powerpoint presentations?

On the other hand, great discussions, lots of suggestions for resources, and totally inspiring. I’ve got a couple of projects in mind–“Writing the River,” an essay and a course to offer, perhaps next fall. My reading list just jumped exponentially. And an enlarged sense of place–Arizona and otherwise. The field trips were great–in fact below are a couple of pictures.

But now the countdown begins, till school starts August 29. The SRSC program is looking really good–30 applicants since we went live with it about 3 months ago. I’m almost ready for my new grad course, Black Feminisms and the Politics of Community–still some reading/re-reading to do, and some Blackboard work to be ready for a wonderful course.

If I had to pick a color that represents Arizona, it would be this/these, as well as burnt orange (see the third picture). I had a great time experimenting with my new Nikon 3100….

2–I saw this sort of fuzzy plant a lot, and always bees and in this case, a moth, buzzing (or fluttering) around.

3–On a blazingly hot day we were almost done in by our tour of the ancient pueblos (c. 1200). Gorgeous constructions and colors and stories about how they lived.

Moth in a Bush

Waputki Pueblo

Week 1 with Julianne Lutz Warren

I feel as if I’ve posted this everywhere, but I’m going to put it here as well. Julianne was awesome! Appreciate her work, her manner, her mind, her writing, her gentle listening . . . so much. All our institute faculty leaders meet with us for three days, followed by a field trip, and then the week-end, when we are to visit the area and work on our projects, due at the end of the month. I’ll miss Julianne, even though Simon Ortiz, our leader this week, will I’m sure also be wonderful.

I put this same post on the GWS Travel Blog, but I promise not to duplicate myself in the future….I’m catching up. Anyway, I recommend anyone to go here to read her paper “Music Beyond the Senses” (link below). She presented it on Tuesday of the first week. It was a fine, fine talk about hope and the environment, with bird songs–the hermit thrush, starling, albatross, and then after she finished her talk, a chorus of the three, along with other birds, endangered and some extinct.  I didn’t share this during the time when others were expressing their reactions, but I did tell Julianne afterwards. My mother, who loved nature almost as much as she loved music, was a devotee of birdsong. Her favorite may have been the thrush–almost from the start of Julianne’s talk, I felt my mother coming closer and closer, and finally she seemed to sit down beside me and to listen with me.

I thought I would tell Julianne this in a matter-of-fact way, as in, “Thanks, your talk let my mother in, and she thanks you, too.” But I was overcome with tears. Instead I said something about how we daughters become our mothers. It’s sometimes a bit of a shock when we, who thought ourselves such distinct beings, say things or react in ways that tell us how much a person’s voice, her gestures–the way she positively lit up when a thrush’s song interrupted a mundane moment and made it magnificent–are now internalized, through memory, and have altered who we are.

My mother would have been weeping through that talk. I didn’t know when I sat down in front of that Audubon painting what invocations were about to happen, what spirits might be within earshot–whether my mother was biding her time, seeking her entry–or whether I was the one longing–or whether the “Music beyond the senses” was pulling all of us to a place where something extraordinary might to happen.

After I got back to my room I was looking around for the phrase, “If rain is the Earth’s tears, then the Earth is inconsolable.” Julianne Warren’s talk: