We knew about the planet called Earth

This showed up on my Facebook feed this morning, and then I tracked it down to a Tumblr post by dalekteaservice. When I read it and got to the end, I was deeply moved. It is a beautiful piece of writing.


We knew about the planet called Earth for centuries before we made contact with its indigenous species, of course. We spent decades studying them from afar.

The first researchers had to fight for years to even get a grant, of course. They kept getting laughed out of the halls. A T-Class Death World that had not only produced sapient lifebut a Stage Two civilization? It was a joke, obviously. It had to be a joke.

And then it wasn’t. And we all stopped laughing.Instead, we got very, very nervous. 

We watched as the human civilizations not only survived, but grew, and thrived, and invented things that we had never even conceived of. Terrible things, weapons of war, implements of destruction as brutal and powerful as one would imagine a death world’s children to be. In the space of less than two thousand years, they had already produced implements of mass death that would have horrified the most callous dictators in the long, dark history of the galaxy. 

Already, the children of Earth were the most terrifying creatures in the galaxy. They became the stuff of horror stories, nightly warnings told to children; huge, hulking, brutish things, that hacked and slashed and stabbed and shot and burned and survived, that built monstrous metal things that rumbled across the landscape and blasted buildings to ruin.

All that preserved us was their lack of space flight. In their obsession with murdering one another, the humans had locked themselves into a rigid framework of physics that thankfully omitted the equations necessary to achieve interstellar travel. 

They became our bogeymen. Locked away in their prison planet, surrounded by a cordon of non-interference, prevented from ravaging the galaxy only by their own insatiable need to kill one another. Gruesome and terrible, yes – but at least we were safe.

Or so we thought.

The cities were called Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the moment of their destruction, the humans unlocked a destructive force greater than any of us could ever have believed possible. It was at that moment that those of us who studied their technology knew their escape to be inevitable, and that no force in the universe could have hoped to stand against them.

The first human spacecraft were… exactly what we should have expected them to be. There were no elegant solar wings, no sleek, silvered hulls plying the ocean of stars. They did not soar on the stellar currents. They did not even register their existence. Humanity flew in the only way it could: on all-consuming pillars of fire, pounding space itself into submission with explosion after explosion. Their ships were crude, ugly, bulky things, huge slabs of metal welded together, built to withstand the inconceivable forces necessary to propel themselves into space through violence alone.

It was almost comical. The huge, dumb brutes simply strapped an explosive to their backs and let it throw them off of the planet. 

We would have laughed, if it hadn’t terrified us.

Humanity, at long last, was awake.

It was a slow process. It took them nearly a hundred years to reach their nearest planetary neighbor; a hundred more to conquer the rest of their solar system. The process of refining their explosive propulsion systems – now powered by the same force that had melted their cities into glass less than a thousand years before – was slow and haphazard. But it worked. Year by year, they inched outward, conquering and subduing world after world that we had deemed unfit for habitation. They burrowed into moons, built orbital colonies around gas giants, even crafted habitats that drifted in the hearts of blazing nebulas. They never stopped. Never slowed.

The no-contact cordon was generous, and was extended by the day. As human colonies pushed farther and farther outward, we retreated, gave them the space that they wanted in a desperate attempt at… stalling for time, perhaps. Or some sort of appeasement. Or sheer, abject terror. Debates were held daily, arguing about whether or not first contact should be initiated, and how, and by whom, and with what failsafes. No agreement was ever reached.

We were comically unprepared for the humans to initiate contact themselves.

It was almost an accident. The humans had achieved another breakthrough in propulsion physics, and took an unexpected leap of several hundred light years, coming into orbit around an inhabited world.

What ensued was the diplomatic equivalent of everyone staring awkwardly at one another for a few moments, and then turning around and walking slowly out of the room.

The human ship leapt away after some thirty minutes without initiating any sort of formal communications, but we knew that we had been discovered, and the message of our existence was being carried back to Terra. 

The situation in the senate could only be described as “absolute, incoherent panic”. They had discovered us before our preparations were complete. What would they want? What demands would they make? What hope did we have against them if they chose to wage war against us and claim the galaxy for themselves? The most meager of human ships was beyond our capacity to engage militarily; even unarmed transport vessels were so thickly armored as to be functionally indestructible to our weapons.

We waited, every day, certain that we were on the brink of war. We hunkered in our homes, and stared.

Across the darkness of space, humanity stared back.

There were other instances of contact. Human ships – armed, now – entering colonized space for a few scant moments, and then leaving upon finding our meager defensive batteries pointed in their direction. They never initiated communications. We were too frightened to.

A few weeks later, the humans discovered Alphari-296.

It was a border world. A new colony, on an ocean planet that was proving to be less hospitable than initially thought. Its military garrison was pitifully small to begin with. We had been trying desperately to shore it up, afraid that the humans might sense weakness and attack, but things were made complicated by the disease – the medical staff of the colonies were unable to devise a cure, or even a treatment, and what pitifully small population remained on the planet were slowly vomiting themselves to death.

When the human fleet arrived in orbit, the rest of the galaxy wrote Alphari-296 off as lost.

I was there, on the surface, when the great gray ships came screaming down from the sky. Crude, inelegant things, all jagged metal and sharp edges, barely holding together. I sat there, on the balcony of the clinic full of patients that I did not have the resources or the expertise to help, and looked up with the blank, empty, numb stare of one who is certain that they are about to die.

I remember the symbols emblazoned on the sides of each ship, glaring in the sun as the ships landed inelegantly on the spaceport landing pads that had never been designed for anything so large. It was the same symbol that was painted on the helmets of every human that strode out of the ships, carrying huge black cases, their faces obscured by dark visors. It was the first flag that humans ever carried into our worlds.

It was a crude image of a human figure, rendered in simple, straight lines, with a dot for the head. It was painted in white, over a red cross.

The first human to approach me was a female, though I did not learn this until much later – it was impossible to ascertain gender through the bulky suit and the mask. But she strode up the stairs onto the balcony, carrying that black case that was nearly the size of my entire body, and paused as I stared blankly up at her. I was vaguely aware that I was witnessing history, and quite certain that I would not live to tell of it.

Then, to my amazement, she said, in halting, uncertain words, “You are the head doctor?”

I nodded.

The visor cleared. The human bared its teeth at me. I learned later that this was a “grin”, an expression of friendship and happiness among their species. 

“We are The Doctors Without Borders,” she said, speaking slowly and carefully. “We are here to help.”


Gently, Gently Go.

For the longest time, this little plaque has hung by my door, much in the same way as a mezuzah graces the home of the Jewish faithful.

Mahn Mahn Hong

For a number of reasons, it is among my most treasured possessions, those things that have transient value during our sojourn on this pale blue dot, and which often end up in a thrift store or the landfill when they are passed to family who have no connection to them.

The back side looks like this:

This came to me from the effects of my father, who – despite the fact that it was a gift celebrating a marriage that would end 9 years later – obviously treasured it and the sentiment included.

I have already written of Ladson Butler, a man of keen intellect and the heart of a Compassionate Samurai, whom I regret not having known in life. This was a present from him to my parents on the occasion of their wedding.

The hanzi (慢慢行) on the front read “mahn mahn hong” in Cantonese, or “Màn man xíng” in Mandarin. Butler’s translation, “gently, gently go” is accurate – 慢 is “slowly,” and 行 means “go” or “travel.” Other translations have been rendered as “take it easy” or “take care.” The sentiment extended to a visitor who is leaving your home is the same, regardless of how you read it, and brings to mind the gentleness of the well-known “Irish blessing:”

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Decades ago, Chase Manhattan ran an investment campaign featuring the “nest egg” as the primary hook:

Charles Addams, the famous cartoonist whose work appeared so frequently in the New Yorker, had a different take on this:

Despite intense effort, it’s still true – you can’t take it with you. Elbert Hubbard, an author and humanist of previous generations, once expressed the same sentiment more poignantly:

“The dead carry in their clenched hands only that which they have given away.”

So this little jewel of mine will remain behind when the bus comes for me, and whether or not someone treasures it after I am gone remains to be seen – I can only hope. But for me it has had immense value.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The rivers of life

Shower thought on the passing of a virtual but nonetheless very dear friend and colleague. Inspired perhaps by a confluence of this XKCD and this story which I posted earlier:

“Our lives through time are like streams of water, and can cross and re-cross and diverge from those with whom we sojourn on this earth. It is at those precious points of convergence with souls who lift and enrich us, even though tomorrow our streams may once again separate, never again to reconvene, that some of life’s greatest joys are captured.

Moments. They’re all we get.”

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

If you’ve lost a cat

u0eG60J.png

No one who has never been owned by a cat will ever truly understand.


To my dearest friend.

I stood by your bed last night; I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying you found it hard to sleep.
I spoke to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today; your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today; you tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I’m not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you; I smiled and said, “it’s me.”

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to me.

Author Unknown

I learned early in life that the only solace for the loss of a cat is to get another cat. Despite the incredible hole these little furry creatures leave in our hearts when they go away, as they must invariably do, those holes can be filled by others, as has happened many times in my life. The following poem addresses that reality.

Stray Cat

Oh, what unhappy twist of fate
Has brought you homeless to my gate?
The gate where once another stood
To beg for shelter, warmth and food.

For from that day I ceased to be
The master of my destiny.
While he, with purr and velvet paw
Became within my house the law.

He scratched the furniture and shed
And claimed the middle of my bed.
He ruled in arrogance and pride
And broke my heart the day he died.

So if you really think, oh Cat,
I’d willingly relive all that
Because you come forlorn and thin,
Well….don’t just stand there…
Come on in!

– Francis Witham

cat hole

The Old Wolf, who has loved many small creatures, has spoken (and shed many a tear.)

The Moment – by Jaspreet Kaur

“The moment that you realize that true contentment can be found when we serve others, all other desires will seem so small.
And the moment you see joy in another being eyes, because of your own selfless actions, life starts to make a lot more sense.
And the moment you begin to act as the reflection of the visions that you have a of a better world, things will begin to change.
And the moment that you recognize your own responsibility for the betterment of others, you’ll see such beauty in life.
And the moment that you recognize that you’ll make more of an impact by being righteous than always being right, rewards will come and fall into your lap.
And the moment that you are more concerned about learning to love, then to be loved, positive emotions of oceanic depths will engulf you.
And the moment that you are more concerned about understanding others than to always be understood, that’s when your mind will truly begin to learn.
And the moment that we realize that our enemies are not physical flesh and blood, yet they are our own thoughts, peace will begin to conquer.
And the moment that we overcome those inner enemies, rather than deflecting them onto others, merriment will come find you.
And the moment that you are more concerned about learning to listen, rather than to always be heard, you will hear languages you thought your mind could never fathom.
And the moment that you realize that life will always be about mastering and relearning, hunkering and climbing your journey will begin to feel so smooth.
And the moment that we all believe that we can change this world for the better, we will do it. Where we learn, change, grow and give, so go live your moments.”

– Spoken-word artist Jaspreet Kaur, at the 2018 Commonwealth Day Celebration

I want to play in the World Game

 

 

Yes, it’s the title of my blog, too. Some of my readers may have wondered what that’s all about.

The idea originated with R. Buckminster Fuller, and you can read more about the concept at the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

TL;DR – Fuller’s concept for humanity, summarized as follows:

“Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”

In 1983, John Denver released “World Game,” a moving song echoing the same concept:

The lyrics:

World Game
John Denver
I want to play in the World Game
I want to make it better it’s ever been before
I want to play in the World Game
I want to make sure everybody knows the score
About using less, doing so much more
Everywhere I’m going I see trouble
Everywhere I’m looking I see all kinds of pain
Maybe we can get back on the double
Maybe we can turn around and make it all change
They say it’s you against your neighbor
If it gets right down to it, you against your friend
I swear that this is not the answer
As far as I can see it is the way it all ends
I want to play in the World Game
I want to make it better it’s ever been before
I want to play in the World Game
I want to make sure everybody knows the score
About using less, doing so much more
Hey man,…

This is the game. This is the reason for this collection of thoughts. To help build Dr. Fuller’s world that works for all of us.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Fred Rogers, the quiet radical

rogersshoe

I have long loved and admired Fred Rogers. He’s so good and genuine  that he’s generated numerous memes and cultural references, the one below from Sandra and Woo:

2016-08-29-0816-the-divine-comedy-page-14.png

Today I stumbled across an informative post on reddit from user /u/MiltownKBs. There’s a lot of stuff here that I didn’t know, and I thought it deserved a wider audience.

Mr Rogers – The quiet radical. He didn’t go on marches, he was not confrontational, but nevertheless he had a ground on which he stood and he wanted to do something about it.

“a quiet but strong American prophet who, with roots in progressive spirituality, invited us to make the world into a counter-cultural neighborhood of love,” – Michael Long, author of the book, Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers.

He worked from a steely social conscience. He used his program, with its non-threatening puppets, songs and conversation, to raise provocative topics such as war, peace, race, gender and poverty with his audience of preschoolers and their parents — patiently guiding them across the minefields of political and social change.

Examples: This one is one of my favorites … The puppet King Friday XIII was posting border guards, installing barbed-wire fences and drafting passersby to keep out those fomenting social change. “Down with the changers!” he proclaimed. “Because we’re on top!” This was 1968 and was aired as part of a weeklong series on conflict, change and distrust. King Friday’s declaration of a national emergency to preserve the status quo is a political statement. It is not a plot line merely to entertain children. It’s the idea that when we resist change, it’s because we want to maintain our position. In the end, the neighborhood was saved, but only through the bold civil disobedience of King Friday’s subjects. People who want change are often labeled as troublemakers.

Rogers was an uncompromising pacifist, and when Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted nationally in 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, he used his first week of programming to share his antiwar beliefs.

Rogers opposed the nuclear arms race, and in 1983 he developed Neighborhood of Make-Believe episodes in which King Friday appears confused and downright silly for calling for an arms race with a neighboring community. When Friday orders “one million and one parts” that he imagines to be weapons — they are not — he uses funds designed to support music in the neighborhood school. The neighborhood is appalled by this crass act.

At the beginning of 1984, the Presidential Task Force on Food Assistance, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, reported that it could not find evidence of rampant hunger in the United States. Rogers did not appreciate the report, and by the end of the year, he broadcast episodes highlighting the presence of hunger and addressing the need to combat it.

In 1987, at the height of the cold war, he traveled to Moscow and appeared on a Soviet children’s television show called Spokoinoi Nochi (Good Night, Little Ones).

Rogers was committed to racial diversity, and not long after inner-city riots erupted following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rogers introduced the character of a black police officer keeping everyone safe in the Neighborhood.

In 1975, 14 years before an African American woman would become mayor of a major U.S. city, Rogers created the character of Mayor Maggie of Southwood, played by African American actor Maggie Stewart.

He wore an apron and ironed clothes on a mid-day broadcast set in a house, when most men would have been at work, modeling a revolution in gender roles. The puppet Lady Elaine Fairchilde anchored a newscast long before Barbara Walters did, and she rocketed into space a decade before Sally Ride broke the glass stratosphere.

In 1983 he arranged for Lady Aberlin, played by Betty Aberlin, to sing a quiet song (“Creation”) in which she refers to God as “She.” A fact that was not lost on the protestors of the time.

Rogers and regular cast member Francois Clemmons, an African-American, dipped their bare feet in a wading pool on a 1969 broadcast, when bitter conflicts over legally segregated swimming pools were still being discussed.

Rogers became a vegetarian in the early 1970s, saying he could not eat anything that had a mother, and in the mid-1980s he became co-owner of Vegetarian Times. In 1985, Rogers also signed his name to a statement protesting the wearing of animal furs.

When politicians in the 1980s spoke of welfare recipients as lazy and unworthy of government help, Rogers portrayed hard-working parents who still couldn’t afford all that their children wanted or needed.

Rogers broadcast public-service announcements on helping children deal with news of war and other tragedy, and he advocated for legislation that would allow at least one parent in a military family to remain with his or her children rather than be deployed.

The Old Wolf has reposted.

 

Two lessons from bees

1) The Unwise Bee

liahonlp-nfo-o-72d
Elder James E. Talmage

Sometimes I find myself under obligations of work requiring quiet and seclusion such as neither my comfortable office nor the cozy study at home insures. My favorite retreat is an upper room in the tower of a large building, well removed from the noise and confusion of the city streets. The room is somewhat difficult of access and relatively secure against human intrusion. Therein I have spent many peaceful and busy hours with books and pen.

I am not always without visitors, however, especially in summertime; for when I sit with windows open, flying insects occasionally find entrance and share the place with me. These self-invited guests are not unwelcome. Many a time I have laid down the pen and, forgetful of my theme, have watched with interest the activities of these winged visitants, with an afterthought that the time so spent had not been wasted, for is it not true that even a butterfly, a beetle, or a bee may be a bearer of lessons to the receptive student?

A wild bee from the neighboring hills once flew into the room, and at intervals during an hour or more I caught the pleasing hum of its flight. The little creature realized that it was a prisoner, yet all its efforts to find the exit through the partly opened casement failed. When ready to close up the room and leave, I threw the window wide and tried at first to guide and then to drive the bee to liberty and safety, knowing well that if left in the room it would die as other insects there entrapped had perished in the dry atmosphere of the enclosure. The more I tried to drive it out, the more determinedly did it oppose and resist my efforts. Its erstwhile peaceful hum developed into an angry roar; its darting flight became hostile and threatening.

Then it caught me off my guard and stung my hand—the hand that would have guided it to freedom. At last it alighted on a pendant attached to the ceiling, beyond my reach of help or injury. The sharp pain of its unkind sting aroused in me rather pity than anger. I knew the inevitable penalty of its mistaken opposition and defiance, and I had to leave the creature to its fate. Three days later I returned to the room and found the dried, lifeless body of the bee on the writing table. It had paid for its stubbornness with its life.

To the bee’s shortsightedness and selfish misunderstanding I was a foe, a persistent persecutor, a mortal enemy bent on its destruction; while in truth I was its friend, offering it ransom of the life it had put in forfeit through its own error, striving to redeem it, in spite of itself, from the prison house of death and restore it to the outer air of liberty.

Are we so much wiser than the bee that no analogy lies between its unwise course and our lives? We are prone to contend, sometimes with vehemence and anger, against the adversity which after all may be the manifestation of superior wisdom and loving care, directed against our temporary comfort for our permanent blessing. In the tribulations and sufferings of mortality there is a divine ministry which only the godless soul can wholly fail to discern. To many the loss of wealth has been a boon, a providential means of leading or driving them from the confines of selfish indulgence to the sunshine and the open, where boundless opportunity waits on effort. Disappointment, sorrow, and affliction may be the expression of an all-wise Father’s kindness.

Consider the lesson of the unwise bee!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–6).

2) You can’t escape death

9856663b2ugch.png

Visit anythingcomic.com, and someone please think of the bees!

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Greatest Summer Homework List Ever

The dreaded summer reading list. For most kids, summer is a time when they can forget about school, but many teachers want to keep their thumbs in that glorious time of blissful forgetfulness. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing – an increasing number of voices in the education community are calling for modifications.

But Cesare Cata, who teaches at a secondary school in the central Le Marche region in Italy, wants his students to use their time off for less academic pursuits. I bless his name, and wish I had had a teacher like this.

Here the original Italian:

1. Al mattino, qualche volta, andate a camminare sulla riva del mare in totale solitudine: guardate come vi si riflette il sole e, pensando alle cose che più amate nella vita, sentitevi felici.
2, Cercate di usare tutti i nuovi termini imparati insieme quest’anno: più cose potete dire, più cose potete pensare; e più cose potete pensare, più siete liberi
3. Leggete, quanto più potete. Ma non perché dovete. Leggete perché l’estate vi ispira avventure e sogni, e leggendo vi sentite simili a rondini in volo. Leggete perché è la migliore forma di rivolta che avete (per consigli di lettura, chiedere a me).
4. Evitate tutte le cose, le situazioni e le persone che vi rendono negativi o vuoti: cercate situazioni stimolanti e la compagnia di amici che vi arricchiscono, vi comprendono e vi apprezzano per quello che siete.
5. Se vi sentite tristi o spaventati, non vi preoccupate: l’estate, come tutte le cose meravigliose, mette in subbuglio l’anima. Provate a scrivere un diario per raccontare il vostro stato (a settembre, se vi va, ne leggeremo insieme)
6. Ballate. Senza vergogna. In pista sotto cassa, o in camera vostra. L’estate è una danza, ed è sciocco non farne parte.
7. Almeno una volta, andate a vedere l’alba. Restate in silenzio e respirate. Chiudete gli occhi, grati.
8. Fate molto sport.
9. Se trovate una persona che vi incanta, diteglielo con tutte la sincerità e la grazia di cui siete capaci. Non importa se lui/lei capirà o meno. Se non lo farà, lui/lei non era il vostro destino; altrimenti, l’estate 2015 sarà la volta dorata sotto cui camminare insieme (se questa va male, tornate al punto 8).
10. Riguardate gli appunti delle nostre lezioni: per ogni autore e ogni concetto fatevi domande e rapportatele a quello che vi succede.
11. Siate allegri come il sole, indomabili come il mare.
12. Non dite parolacce, e siate sempre educatissimi e gentili.
13. Guardate film dai dialoghi struggenti (possibilmente in lingua inglese) per migliorare la vostra competenza linguistica e la vostra capacità di sognare. Non lasciate che il film finisca con i titoli di coda. Rivivetelo mentre vivete la vostra estate.
14.Nella luce sfavillante o nelle notti calde, sognate come dovrà e potrà essere la vostra vita: nell’estate cercate la forza per non arrendervi mai, e fate di tutto per perseguire quel sogno.
15. Fate i bravi.

And here the English translation:

  1. In the morning, sometime, go walk by the sea in total solitude: look at how the sun is reflected and, thinking about the things you love most in life, feel happy.
  2. Try to use all the new word you learned together this year: the more things you can say, the more things you can think of; and the more things you can think of, the more free you become.
  3. Read as much as you can. But not because you have to. Read because the summer inspires dreams and adventures, and because while you are reading you feel like swallows in flight. Read because it is the best form of revolt there is. (For suggested reading, ask me).
  4. Avoid all things, situations and people that make you negative or empty: Look for challenging situations and the company of friends that will enrich you, understand you, and appreciate you for who you are.
  5. If you feel sad or scared, do not worry: the summer, as all wonderful things do, can trouble the soul. Try to write a diary to record your feelings; (in September, if you like, we will read these together).
  6. Dance. Shamelessly. In line at the bank, or in your room. Summer is a dance, and it is foolish not to take part.
  7. At least once, go see the sunrise. Remain silent and breathe. Close your eyes, grateful.
  8. Play sports. A lot.
  9. If you find a person who enchants you, tell them with all the sincerity and grace of which you are capable. It doesn’t matter if (s)he understands or not. If (s)he does not, (s)he was not your destiny; otherwise, the summer 2015 will be the great gilded vault under which you walk together (if this goes wrong, go back to step 8).
  10. Review the notes of our classes: for each author and each concept, ask yourself questions and liken them to what happens to you.
  11. Be as cheerful as the sun, as untamable as the sea.
  12. Do not use bad language, and always be most wise and kind.
  13. Watch films with poignant dialog (preferably in English) to improve your language skills and your ability to dream. Do not let the films end with the credits. Re-live them while you live your summer.
  14. In sparkling light or on warm nights, dream about what your like can and must be; in the summer serch for the strength never to give up, and do everything to pursue that dream.
  15. Be good.

The Old Wolf has nothing more to add.