Fiction And Empathy

I recently came across some insightful statistics on reading. They vary somewhat by state, but here’s an overview. Women read more than men. Most Americans don’t read fiction. Between 1982 and 2012 fiction reading declined from 56% to 46% Men mostly read nonfiction. Women mostly read fiction. Executives far outpace the general population in the […]

XIII. Pattern

This is the 13th posting in the series, “The Aesthetic Dimensions.” The first, posted January 6, 2019, explains the series and deals with “Abstraction.” To follow it (at no cost), go to davidlsmithcontemplativephotography.com and click “Follow” (bottom right corner of the Home page). The postings will show up in your mailbox on Sunday mornings. To […]

Winter Solstice — Renewal

  As December 21st approaches, I reflect on the significance that the winter solstice held for indigenous peoples and mark it in my own life as a way to attune, as they did, to the order and rhythms of nature and the cosmos. Having studied Mesoamerican cultures, particularly the ancient Maya, for forty-five years, I […]

Lifecycles

  When I was in high school, the authors of biology and chemistry textbooks considered independent motion as the defining characteristic of life. If it moved on its own accord, it was alive—organic. Viewed under a microscope, cells and bacteria move. Minerals do not. Water moves, but it was not considered to be “alive,” except […]

Presentation

  Many years before I was introduced to the Ancient Maya, a little book by Erving Goffman entitled, “The Presentation Of Self In Everyday Life,” set me on the path of becoming an armchair anthropologist. Actually, it may have been his insights that sparked my later interest in the Maya, in part because their kings […]

Maize

For me, one of the best things about summer in Ohio is corn! Considering my affinity toward Central America, I prefer the term “maize,” an Indian word meaning “sacred mother,” or “giver of life.” The ancient Maya creation story features the maize god—referred to as “First Father.” When the waters that covered the earth receded, the […]

Continuity

It’s not unusual to see vegetation sprouting through cracks in the pavement, but these little plants were growing in mud alongside a railroad track that had been thoroughly covered with oil. They speak to me of the resilience and continuity of life. In this instance, seeds from dying plants sunk into the mud and were overlaid with […]

Growth As A Spiral

  The chambered nautilus is a creature that inhabits the Pacific and Indian oceans, today between depths of 600 to 1200 feet. Appearing in the fossil record before fish, dinosaurs and mammals, some 500 million years ago, they grew up to 20 feet long! The spiral occurs as walls are formed to seal off and […]

Tranquility

  One among many leaves that float on the surface of life, I ride the waves. The calm— meaningful conversations, helping where help is needed, Linda’s cooking; Graeter’s ice cream; Skyline chili, researching and writing novels of the ancient Maya; visiting sites, Scott Hamilton’s tenor saxophone; Barry Manilow; Andrea Bocelli traveling backroads to photograph; making […]

Jaguar Rising (The Novel)

  I’m happy to announce the re-publication of the first novel in the trilogy, The Path of the Jaguar. The revised edition of Jaguar Rising has far less Maya vocabulary and I use the contemporary rather than ancient names of their cities. In the course of editing the book it turned out to be shorter—and I […]