Kotiharjun Sauna, Helsinki

Looking at the sky tonight, I think about Origen of Alexandria, the philosopher who believed the stars were rational creatures and the sun could sing. Maybe we’ve lost something over the past two thousand years, some critical capacity for wonder.

I’ve started reading Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, Lawrence Weschler’s collection of interviews with the artist Robert Irwin. “The wonder is still there,” Irwin says again and again.

In the sauna I chat with a wrinkly man about the unusual weather. “Still no snow,” he says. “Still a black winter.” He douses the rocks and we listen to the steam. At one o’clock in the morning, I visit the döner kebab stand in front of the train station. I talk with a Sioux from South Dakota and a Finn who logged some heavy time in Vegas. Cities are such fantastic inventions. The wonder is still here.

Further reading: Origen of Alexandria, black winter, Robert Irwin, and Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees.

Each day in 2020 I'm writing a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I want to etch these uneasy times into my memory before I forget them. Before the world changes completely.

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