from the editors

 
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Dear Ornament Reader,

In our previous Postscript in Ornament we wrote how the last months of the calendar year are especially devoted to expressions of gratitude. Perhaps it is harder to keep this beautiful word, gratitude, in mind when the world's heartbeat has experienced yet another turbulent year, a cruel and dangerous one by many standards. There is the strong likelihood of our experiencing more of the same as we progress through 2017. We all pretty much agree that great challenges continue on Earth's horizon. It is difficult to understand why there is not more compassion and cooperation from our homelife to our nation's citadel, and beyond. We struggle with the terrible flaws that mark us as human. These imperfections that lead us to take destructive actions that could quench all life. Indeed, it is a rueful acknowledgment of the perils and glories of existence when the Yugoslavian author Louis Adamic (1898-1951) wrote "My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn."

      The time is past when we can stand alone with our own close-knit communities and view the rest of the world as strangers, foreigners, others. The time is past when the world can be viewed as endlessly bountiful. This Earth is our only true treasure not the gold that lines our pockets. We are nature and we are part of an extraordinary universe. If there is a transcendence to living it is our commonality with everything, ironic as that may be to some. As humans and not diviners, we are fated to live with ambiguity; but what remains unresolved within is still navigable because life's currents are continuous, unending and interconnected. It takes patience and courage to live within such an unsettled state, to respect the process, and not force end results. This is something to cherish and not to be afraid of.

To reach for the stars has always seemed a metaphor for reaching out and touching our hearts to preserve and cherish what is noble about our beingness. Humanity could not have developed art, music, literature, science, philosophy, and it could not have brought forth the ideas of peace and justice, kindness and compassion if there had not been the possibility of improving upon ourselves. As we suspend in the gracious beneficence of a sunbeam, visualize our majestic personal starship. Hold it in your hands. That's us. Think of it kindly. Think of it compassionately. Think of it responsibly. Then, take a next good step. Help us evolve a little bit more. It is all up to us. And we can do it together.