The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
ON BEAUTY (2014), from award-winning filmmaker Joanna Rudnick, is a documentary looks at beauty through the lens of fashion photographer Rick Guidotti. It highlights vibrant individuals with genetic conditions. Guidotti's photographs are a stark contrast to the sad, isolated figures seen in medical textbooks and they inspire many to change their perceptions of what it means to be beautiful.
As starlings gather in the evenings to roost, often they will participate in what is called a murmuration — a huge flock that shape-shifts in the sky as if it were one swirling liquid mass. Often the behavior is sparked by the presence of a predator like a hawk or peregrine falcon, and the flock's movement is based on evasive maneuvers. There is safety in numbers, so the individual starlings do not scatter, but rather are able to move as an intelligent cloud, feinting away from a diving raptor, thousands of birds changing direction almost simultaneously. The question that has had scientists stumped is how a bird, hundreds of thousands of birds, can elude the nearest danger, sense the shift and move in unison? The group protects its members. Safety in numbers -- but even more.
Sometimes, we can just watch and wonder -- there are things that are beyond our ken.
bright sunshine, clear sky a field of scattered lanterns autumnal prologue
(haiku and photos by Yoon Cohen)
Down Green River Road, in Williamstown, there's a small public park, River's Edge Park, that is rarely frequented. In the late summer and fall a large portion of the ground is covered by Chinese lanterns. Over the years, I have watched this ornamental weed spread over the grounds. Its orange flowers are down-hanging bells of arresting beauty.
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile The short and simple annals of the poor. Thomas Gray
In a year's end section, The NY Times has collected over 260 pictures with short blurbs honoring common people who died in 2011. It is hauntingly touching. We can each think of someone to add. If any of you are moved to do so, send a photo and a vignette to C2S. Better yet, why not also honor living common people who do uncommon things? We encounter them every day.
Dorothy Loney My mother passed away on August 21st. She had only a short few years to her enjoy her only grandchild, Madeleine. The picture captures the one walk they ever took together. Submitted by Matthew Loney
Reknown potter, Toshiko Takaezu, died in Honolulu on March 9, 2011 at the age of 88. Born on June 17, 1922, in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, the middle child of 11, her parents were Japanese immigrants from Okinawa.
She was strongly influenced by her study of Zen Buddhism, and regarded her ceramic work as an outgrowth of nature and seamlessly interconnected with the rest of her life. “I see no difference between making pots, cooking and growing vegetables,” she was fond of saying. Indeed, she often used her kilns to bake chicken in clay, and dry mushrooms, apples and zucchinis.
“You are not an artist simply because you paint or sculpt or make pots that cannot be used,” she said. “An artist is a poet in his or her own medium. And when an artist produces a good piece, that work has mystery, an unsaid quality; it is alive.”