The Fire Next Time: James Baldwin

February. The month the new year really begins, in my opinion. Now we get down to the hard work of living the year.

February is also Black History Month, and while I didn’t pick James Baldwin because of BHM, I do have it in the back of my mind and like his emphasis on community and our responsibility to one another. “The moment we break faith with one another…the light goes out” seems a poignant reminder as any that we are all in this together and that harm or injustice done to any of us has reverberations that travel down the line.

Plus, Baldwin’s words are beautiful in and of themselves. I paired them with the Universal Postal Union stamp (1949) because of the imagery of the globe (“the sea rises and the light fails”) and the doves carrying letters in their beaks. Communication, especially when we slow down enough to hear one another, may be our only chance in a world intent on generating misunderstandings and “alternative facts.” See also Junot Diaz’  2017 interview on “On Being” (Radical Hope is Our Best Weapon):

“It’s incumbent upon us to be reflective,
to be complex,
to be subtle,
to be nuanced,
to take our time in societies
which are none of these things
and which encourage none of these things.”

May your month be filled with nuance, self-reflection, and the taking of time that leads to revelations.