2. Majestic Photos Capture the Dwindling Population of Madagascar’s Ancient Baobab Trees. “In the fall of 2018, one of Madagascar’s most sacred baobabs cleaved and crumbled. The ancient giant was estimated to be about 1,400 years old and offered food, fuel, and fiber to the region before its trunk, which spanned 90 feet around, collapsed. Known as Tsitakakoike, which means ‘the tree where one cannot hear the cry from the other side,’ the baobab was also entwined with local lore and thought to house the ancestral spirits of nearby Masikoro people. Its loss was devastating to the community and an ominous sign of how the climate crisis is permanently damaging these centuries-old trees.”
3. How a Butterfly Refuge at the Texas Border Became the Target of Far-Right Lies on The New York Times. In related news, A butterfly conservatory is shutting down due to right-wing harassment.
4. 18 Queer Florists to Follow on Instagram. Additional bonus: one or two them may be in your area or where there’s someone you love that you want to send a bouquet to.
5. How ‘Wintering’ has changed my perspective and improved my mental health. “Wintering isn’t just cozy socks, glowing candles, and knitting while tucked under a quilt. Though it can certainly be those things too. Mostly it’s about seeing winter, and any hard or dark times in our life, for what they are – essential. Wintering is about shutting off the constant busyness and go-go-going of our lives that we sometimes use to mask our pain or anxiety or sadness so that we can recover, heal, and grow.”
6. I’m A Vet Who Helps People Say Goodbye To Their Pets. When My Dog Was Dying, I Couldn’t. “Despite my years of training and experience, when it came to Mathilda, I couldn’t make the compassionate decision to let her go when she was ready.”
7. Where I Live: Arsenal by poet Naomi Shihab Nye. “The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special.”
8. On the Hidden Pain of V.C. Andrews, the Woman Behind The Flowers in the Attic. “Andrew Niederman Considers the Toll of Chronic Pain on the Writing Life.”
13. The Meaningful Mundane: 6 Classic Books That Depict Black Girlhood. One of my favorite “coming of age” novels made the list — Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid.
16. An 8-Year-Old Wrote a Book and Hid It on a Library Shelf. It’s a Hit. on The New York Times.
18. Heroes Lost. Heroes Remembered. “Health care professionals have been, and continue to be, heroes. They are frontline soldiers in the war against this deadly virus. So are those who stocked shelves and kept supply lines running. We also owe a deep debt to the scientists who rushed to understand this elusive killer and developed vaccines, treatments, and tests.”
20. 20 Pets Who Got Bigger, but Didn’t Shake Off Any of Their Habits. “Like humans, pets pick up habits that they keep for their entire lives. Most of them connect with a toy or accessory so deeply that they keep it close even after it’s not fit for playing anymore. This just proves how similarly our pets’ brains and ours work, and maybe that’s why we grow to feel so close to them.”
21. The Only Remedy for FOMO (fear of missing out) from Courtney Carver on Be More With Less.
22. Black History is Your History by Ijeoma Oluo. “The true study of Black history is American history. It is not only what we have accomplished, but the circumstances that our accomplishments were created in. It is not only the horrors that have been visited upon us, but the systems that have built and perpetrated those horrors. It’s not only the hatreds and bigotries held by white people in the past, but the ways in which those hatreds and bigotries have been codified and made so ubiquitous for future white generations that it has been normalized into invisibility.” In related news, Who is Black History Month actually for?
23. Good stuff from The Atlantic: Where’s the Cancel-Culture Outrage Over Banning Books? (“Joe Rogan is still here, but books are disappearing from libraries”), and Book Bans Are Targeting the History of Oppression (“The possibility of a more just future is at stake when young people are denied access to knowledge of the past”), and The Octavia Butler Novel for Our Times (“The pandemic has revealed the depths of our mutual dependence. Fledgling shows us how to coexist”).
24. ‘Photos’ of What Cartoon Characters Would Look Like in Real Life. “What would famous animated characters from movies and TV shows look like in real life? One digital artist has created a fascinating series of AI-assisted ‘portraits’ that provide the answers to that question.”
25. Andrea Gibson: Together Again. Saturday, Feb 12, 2022 – 1:00 PM MST, you can rewatch for the next seven days if you can’t make the livestream. “It brings me so much joy to invite you to an intimate virtual reading of poems and stories from the coziest couch in my living room. As many of you know I took much of the last year off from even virtual events as I was doing chemotherapy. I have missed spending time with y’all so much, and am filled with stories and poems and FEELINGS I know will be so connecting to share. I named the event TOGETHER AGAIN because it speaks to how special this moment in my life is to me. At the end of the reading I’ll be doing a live Q&A so if you have questions (or answers!) please bring them.” Also from Andrea, a new poem: What I Mean When I Say My Heart Has Melted.
28. The Irresistible Allure of Snacking Cakes. “My family fell under the spell of Yossy Arefi’s simple recipes for cakes that are meant to be eaten anytime.” Yeah, I’m gonna need this cookbook. In other words, recipes I want to try: all of them.