Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nature's Economic Stimulus Plan

Worried about the economy? Most people are. Most have an opinion about the new stimulus plan. No one knows if it will jump-start the flow of prosperity or if we will all be working the victory garden on the closet patch of earth. While we worry and wonder, nature has its own stimulus plan. It started with the Big Bang and has been keeping goods and services flowing for billions of years. Nature's stimulus package has an infinite supply of renewable energy and jobs for countless creatures. Lending flows freely. Research and development continues nonstop. The arts flourish and food is available in endless supply.

So where did we go so wrong? With overflowing abundance covering the planet, how did we trap ourselves in an economic wasteland? We forgot or denied one simple principle of sustainable growth—to continue, life devours itself. Yikes! Who wants to face that. The fact is, there's no other choice.

The human picture of growth involves accumulating more and more land, houses, clothes, food, health, relationships, entertainment... Once we've grown these things, we want to keep them as they are without deterioration. We want all gain and no loss. This is the complete opposite of nature's economics.

To maintain itself and thrive, nature gives up everything it gains. Solar energy, vital water, breathable air, fertile soil, flourishing plant life and diverse animal communities are produced and renewed through nature's economic system of continuous  birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth.  

Whatever stimulus plan we follow, it will be short term if it doesn't involve the loss of the old and the birth of the new. Old markers like the stock market may not be the indicators of a new economy attuned to nature's ways. It may be acts of giving in the midst of seeming scarcity, friendship in the face of fear, and a sense of peace in the whirlpool of chaos. This isn't mystical fantasy. It's the practical economics that have sustained life on this planet for millions of years.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My New Water Bottle

Finally, I found a water bottle that works.  I've been looking for months and it's amazing how difficult many designs make staying hydrated a chore. The designers of this little beauty by NATHAN: Human Propulsion Laboratories explored the process of drinking and detailed a bottle that perfectly addresses a basic of human need. The stainless steel body is lightweight, bump resistant and free of all those creepy toxins given off by plastic. The top is brilliant. The loop for carrying the bottle on your finger or your belt acts as a lever to rotate the "straw" back and forth between the closed down position and the vertical sipping position. It lets me get some water without putting my grubby finger all over the drinking spout. Sweet.

In case you're wondering, I'm not advertising this bottle or getting paid to write about it. I just appreciate good design and like to share it when I see it. Look for the simple, yet well designed objects you encounter today. Imagine the thought that went into their creation. It there some object or tool you have that doesn't work? Do you see a way to improve it? Redesign it. Share it with the world. Make something as simple and important as drinking water better somehow.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Every building is built on trust. Sure, there is plenty of fear sprinkled through the creation of any project, but without trust the whole structure would collapse. The roof must trust the support of walls, the walls has to trust the firmness of the foundation and the foundation needs to trust the stability of the abiding Earth. Gutters and downspouts trust that water flows according to certain laws. Window glass trusts that sunlight reflects in predictable ways. 

Lack of wise trust can make a work of architecture collapse before it is built. If a client, architect and builder don't trust each another or they act in untrustworthy ways, shifting thoughts and emotions can cause the whole project to fall apart. Problems arise when one or another of the team grasps his or her preferences too tightly. The resistance blocks the flow of skill and knowledge into problem solving and creative expression. At times like these, I recall a poem written 1,400 years and see how it might breathe some sanity into the situation:

by Sen-ts'an
6th Century

The great way isn't difficult
for those who are unattached to their preferences.
Let go of longing and aversion,
and everything will be perfectly clear.
When you cling to a hairbreadth of distinction,
heaven and earth are set apart.
If you want to realize the truth,
don't be for or against.
The struggle between good and evil
is the primal disease of the mind.
Not grasping the deeper meaning
you just trouble your mind's serenity.
As vast as infinite space,
it is perfect and lacks nothing.
But because you select and reject,
you can't perceive its true nature.
Don't get entangled in the world;
don't lose yourself in emptiness.
Be at peace with the oneness of things,
and all errors will disappear by themselves.

If you don't live the Tao,
you fall into assertion or denial.
Asserting the world is real,
you are blind to the selflessness of all things.
The more you think about these matters,
the farther you are from the truth.
Step aside from all thinking,
and there is nowhere you can't go.
Returning to the root,
you find the meaning;
chasing appearances,
you lose their source.
At the moment of profound insight,
you transcend both appearance and emptiness.
Don't keep searching for the truth,
just let go of your opinions.

For the mind in harmony with the Tao,
all selfishness disappears.
With not even a trace of self-doubt,
you can trust the universe completely.
All at once you are free,
with nothing left to hold on to.
All is empty, brilliant,
perfect in its own being.

In the world of things as they are,
there is no self, no non-self.
If you want to describe its essence,
the best you can say is "Not-two."
In this "Not-two" nothing is separate,
and nothing in the world is excluded.
The enlightened of all times and places
have entered into this truth.
In it there is no gain or loss;
one instant is a thousand years.
There is no here, no there;
infinity is right before your eyes.
The tiny is as large as the vast
when objective boundaries have vanished;
the vast is as small as the tiny
when you don't have external limits.
Being is an aspect of non-being;
non-being is not different from being.
Until you understand this truth,
you won't see anything clearly.
One is all;
all are one.
When you realize this,
what reason for holiness or wisdom?
The mind of absolute trust 
is beyond all thought, all striving,
is perfectly at peace, for in it
there is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow.

Translated by Stephen Mitchell in, The Enlightened Heart.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Hands link imagination to nature. The mind's designs would never be expressed without hands to shape stones, trees and other forms of nature into architecture and objects. Unless you are reading this in a completely wild place, every object in your surroundings was crafted, carried and placed by human hands. Look at all the things that are sized to fit the human hand—the keyboard I type upon, doorknobs, pens, drinking glasses, forks, spoons, wallets, toothbrushes, keys, musical instruments, tools for every type of work. Hands shaped every city you've ever visited, every article of clothing you've ever worn and every meal you've ever eaten. They've done this through their amazing ability to respond to the creative impulses coursing through the brain to the environment. Spend a day noticing the role hands, yours and others', play in shaping your world and you will discover of universe of creation.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Nature hides in plain sight. It takes quiet eyes to see the subtle designs for living made by plants and animals. It would be walk right by the rattlesnake in this photo without even knowing it was there. Nature doesn't always cooperate with our desire to live openly and freely. Instead, it survives and thrives through disguises. Elaborate costumes of pattern and color allow animals to hide from predators and to prey on other creatures. 

How does this play into designing in harmony with nature? Would it be to create camouflaged homes and cities that blended into their surroundings? How would you make a town look like a forest or rolling hills? Yet, just because birds' nests are hidden from human eyes doesn't mean birds don't see them they way be see houses on a hillside. Maybe human houses are invisible to the eyes of crows and hummingbirds? Maybe to rest of nature our dwellings already blend into the environment. Maybe it's somewhere in between—we clash with the design of nature too much and we blend with it more than we appreciate. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Eyes in art and architecture connect across time. The eyes in this photo were carved into marble in Greece more than 2,500 years ago. The sculptor shaped the stone into a lively expression of human emotion that can be recognized immediately. Is it only a projection that we see a reflection of our own consciousness in sculptures and drawings of eyes? Maybe there is something about the design of lids, irises, pupils, lashes and brows that indicates the mind behind the creation of eyes. Maybe it's not the eyes that we connect with, but the formless awareness hovering just beyond the eyes. This formless awareness has been looking out through my eyes for as long as I can remember. It's observed the changes in my mind, body, actions and surroundings throughout my life, but the watching silent awareness hasn't changed. Perhaps you experience this. Perhaps, when we meet and connect, it is this silent place in me that recognizes this silent place in you, and vise versa. Maybe, when I came across this Greek sculpture, the silent place in me recognized the silent place within the sculptor who crafted these stone eyes more than 2,500 years ago. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

2 Worlds in 1

I live in two worlds. One is made of facts, bills, rules, oppositions, gossip, routine... The other is made of mysteries, subtle exchanges, patterns, dances, mythic tales, rituals... One world is the defined by the conventional mind that honors the status quo. The other is an ocean of soul that honors shifting tides. One world is filled with problems to be solved. The other is full of mysteries to be explored.

I've spent most of my life attempting to reconcile these seemingly conflicting universes. I've learned to "see infinity in a grain of sand" and "hold eternity in the palm of [my] hand." Becoming an architect was an attempt to combine art and science, creativity and commerce. Despite these efforts, there is still the persistent gnawing that I could, should, be spending my days less on the facts side of the street and directing my feet to the mythic, poetic, integrative side. 

My body, however, needs food and a roof. It likes sleeping on a comfortable bed, driving a decent car, walking in comfortable shoes and the other things money buys. Our culture praises soulful, boundary breaking work as long as it isn't too threatening to its survival systems. Mostly, society rewards the conventional mind. Unable to figure out how support the needs of my body through my art, I do what most do in my situation do. I work at the most interesting day job I can and pursue my writing and designing new possibilities the rest of the time.

A few years ago, I moaned about this to a friend from Malaysia who is a herbalist and pulse diagnostician. He laughed and said, "Americans, always wanting to do their thing. The greatest martial artist in southeast Asia sells noodles on the street. At night, he hones his skill and teaches classes."

Living in two worlds is structured into the human brain. The left hemisphere is said to dwell in a linear, analytical world. The right hemisphere inhabits a spatial, artistic world. Experiencing day to day reality as anything other than these paired modes is just arguing with life. "That's an argument you'll lose every time," points out another friend.

I mused on this ongoing dilemma last fall as I was walking by the bay at sunset. Not too far from shore, a pelican circled about 50 feet above the water. "Working for his dinner," I thought. As the pelican circled, he was all spread wings and scanning eyes, the perfect design for detecting food in the environment. In a flash, the pelican pulled in his wings and plummeted toward the water. He became a pointed beak that sliced cleanly through the surface. When the pelican bobbed to the surface the sack at his throat wriggled with the attempted escape of the fish he'd caught. 

Having just finished a days work myself, I felt a new thread of kinship with the pelican and every being that strives to survive in this world. We all work to feed our bodies. In humans , as far as I know, the soul looks on. The mind stands between, either appreciating or rejecting the scene. Nature seems to spontaneously weave together artistic beauty and practical necessity. The pelican lives the way he is made to live. It would be ridiculous for him to trying getting nectar from a flower like a hummingbird. Like the pelican circling above the bay, the two worlds in which I live circle around each other. Sometimes their intertwining rings seem to be in conflict. At other times, the two seem to be nuances of unity. I'm coming to appreciate how the seemingly conflicting patterns generate sparks of creative energy. The seemingly unified patterns take these in, digest them and transform them into new creations... It's a science and an art... I'd be interesting in hearing about your journey to integrate the poetic with the practical in your daily life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hearts and Locks

This heart-shaped lock secures an old oak door in the hill town of Vezelay, France. In this region romantic love as we know it was born during the Middle Ages. Why have so many locks and lockets through the centuries used the heart as the guide for their design? Is it because love is tender and the image of an iron encasement offers a sense of protection? It is because love is a mystery and entering its pleasures and vitality requires that we find a key of insight to open its secrets? Is it a kind of mockery, saying I love you, but stay out?

I think heart-shaped locks are yet another timeless technique where designers have used specific forms and materials to carry us into the freedom of the formless spirit. Hardened steel secures a thick door. The curves of the heart shape offer a sensuous invitation. But, entry is blocked by the deadbolt. The only way into the heart is inserting the key specifically made as the soulmate of that particular lock. All this is the physical setup for the moment when the key is turned, the tumblers of the bolt revolve, the lock unlatches, the door flies open and the love hidden inside flies out. The protection of love is not the purpose of these locks. They are about the joy of releasing love.

Everyday, the news screams with violence enacted from the dark heart of humanity. Maybe the human heart is made shadowy and hard by withholding love. Countless times a day, most of us choose to lock our love down. We act sociably enough to get by and share a few drops of care and affection. Each withholding of love makes the heart a bit darker and harder. Maybe the makers of heart-shaped lock are not warning us to hide our love away, but to unlock our hearts and celebrate the love that is longing to be shared. 

Nature: Science or Poetry

Yesterday, I took the day off and went to the new California Academy of Sciences. The building has been hailed as a model of green design. I walked through the glass and steel front door, wide-eyed and ready to learn. What I found was the current dilemma of Nature, Imagination and Architecture. The scientific mind-set of our culture breaks nature into definable categories, wraps it in a dazzling technological package and feeds us the illusion that we are connecting with the ecological web that sustains life on this planet. I realized the truth of the words about science uttered in the movie, Contact. Jodi Foster plays a scientist who passes to another dimension through a worm hole in time and space. The beauty and mystery on the other side of the worm hole is so overwhelming that Jodi cannot described it in scientific language. All she can do is mumble, "They should have sent a poet."

Without poetry, the displays at the California Academy of Sciences are nothing more than quick, fragmented "Wows." "Wow, look at that gecko walking up the glass." "Wow, look at the size of that catfish." "Wow, look at the carbon footprint made by a steak dinner." Certainly, the facts introduce us to the terrain of nature and the patterns of ecology that we must take into account to dwell on earth sustainably. But, the threads of poetic imagination that weave the fabric of life together can take us beyond the isolated view that got us into the mess of pollution and global warming. Poetry can assist us in directly experiencing the integrated whole that makes nature a practical wonder. Precise poetic language opens dimensions of nature that scientific formulas cannot. 

Maybe, green buildings could be rated not only on the linear scale of LEED requirements met, but could include descriptions of the their poetic power.
How many sparks of wonder and beauty does the building ignite? In how many places do the walls, roofs and other forms point toward the formless? To the rational mind, this seems absurd. To the poetic soul, this is the genuine substance of architecture that is attuned to nature. If we don't include the poetic eye and heart in our intersections with ecology, our efforts at green building will only result in a new fashion of cages. We'll end up like the panther in the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

His vision from constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems there are
a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils 
lifts, quietly—. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested 
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Alchemy of Moments

I snapped this photo last Saturday on Mt. Tamalpais. The light in the creek was breathtaking. The forces and substances swirling together to create this intersection of time and place transcended what my mind could grasp. Countless strands of energy and matter, of sun, rain, stones, trees, gravity and mystery produced this fleeting image. I wondered how I could translate nature's techniques for creating beauty and poetry into making architecture...


Sustainable Gestures

The word calligraphy comes from Greek words meaning "beauty writing." Watching Sherrie Lovler wield a pen to make letters like the ones she created for the piece above is definitely watching beauty writing. It's also magic writing. From a stiff pen and a puddle of ink, Sherrie flows the arcs and swoops of the alphabet across the page. Each letter has its unique personality and emotion. The strokes delineate the birth, growth, decay and death that mark a lifetime. The gaps and spaces sculpt the formless into form. Together, the letters generate families of words, communities of sentences, nations of paragraphs, and worlds of chapters that express the story of creation. 

Using keyboards and electric mice to write letters and draw architecture, we are losing touch with the connection between imagination, our bodies and the physical shaping of matter. Our influence in designing the world is becoming more and more abstract. When our surroundings become abstract, we can become placeless, homeless. Life can become disconnected flashes of information. We can lose the threads of connection that weave life into a sustainable whole. 

Selecting fonts and composing words and sentences on a computer can be amazing and beautiful. Yet, when I see Sherrie making letters, I see the power of creating forms through a specific moment in time and place. Each "a" is a unique creation. Each "b" contains the forces alive in that now. Forms that have been used for centuries are given new life. They are renewed and sustained by the gesture of Sherrie's hand as it moves in a particular way that it hasn't moved before and won't move again. We think of sustainability as a long term endeavor, but it is moment by moment renewal that breathes life into forms that continue.

Years ago, I heard a story about a Japanese a school that was too poor to buy new paper for their calligraphy class. Instead of using ink for their letters, the students dipped their brushes into water and focused on sensing the shape of their hands and arms as they wrote invisible characters across the page. When each class was finished, they set the paper out to dry and used it again the next day. They knew that beautiful characters are the result of beautiful gestures. Recalling this reminds me that sustainable economies, relationships and architecture are the calligraphy produced by sustainable gestures.  

You can see more of Sherrie Lovler calligraphic art at


Monday, February 9, 2009

Carl Jung Action Figure

In an art supply store the other day, I encountered CARL JUNG, Action Figure. The psychologist's writings about archetypes and alchemy have been major influences in my own writing and architecture. What a thrill to see that someone had the insight and humor to honor him as a superhero. On the front of the package Jung is quoted saying, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves." How irritatingly true!

Wearing a grey suit and brown shoes, Carl Jung, the bald action figure holds a pipe in his left hand. "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe," Freud, Jung's mentor, said. In the left hand of Carl Jung Action Figure, a pipe became a samurai sword. Jung didn't use the blade to eliminate shadowy enemies. Instead, he employed his sword of insight to slice open the shadow each of us carries in our hearts and release the light trapped inside.

In Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections,he tells the story of a student who came to a rabbi and said, "In the old days there were individuals who saw the face of God. Why don't they see Him anymore?" The rabbi replied,"Because nowadays no one can stoop so low."

On the back of the Carl Jung Action Figure package it says that Jung's final words were, "Let's have a really good red wine tonight." A Jung lay on his deathbed in his house, by a lake, Switzerland there was a severe thunderstorm. Nearby stood a massive tree beneath which Jung had spent many hours meditating on the mysteries of dwelling in this world. Soon after his passing, a bolt of lightning struck the tree, splitting it in two. Maybe it was a spark from our action hero's pipe.

Jung's enthusiasm for looking passed surface appearances into the soul of things encourages me every day. Even when working on seemingly mundane stuff, I sometimes remember that every thought and action is designing and shaping matter in some way. It's alchemical work that, bit by bit, transmutes the soul and the world. I like how Van Morrison sang it, "Even my best friends, they, don't know that my job is turning lead into gold."

Who knows? Maybe Carl Jung Action Figure will appear in a troubled situation in your life. A spark from his pipe ignites the furnace in your alchemical studio. The lead of your imagination flashes into a creative work of gold that saves your corner of the world. That's an action hero I can cheer for.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Seats of Compassion

Compassion is embodied in seating. The countless places you have rested your bones through your life were waiting for your arrival. Someone before you took the time, effort and money to design, craft and put them there. Without the seats in parks, cafes, theaters, libraries, waiting rooms, offices, airports, train stations, churches, temples, bus stops, gardens, porches, living rooms, dining rooms........we'd all be standing around, feet aching wondering when we could get out of there.

A bench or chair in a public place says, "Humanity, take a load off your feet. Stop a while. Eat your sandwich. Read a newspaper. Have a conversation with a friend. Or, just look around and appreciate the drama and comedy of dwelling in this world.

The making of a chair can change the world. The architect William McDonough was asked by a Swiss company to design a chair. McDonough said he would take the job if he could also design the way the chair was made. In the manufacturing process, the fabric that covered the chair had to be washed a number of times. The fabric acted as a filter, sifting out impurities. The water that came out of the factory was cleaner that the water going in.

Notice all the seats that are offered to you each day. Imagine how they got there. Who designed the chair or bench? What was their intention for the design? What was their day like when they designed this place to sit? Where did the materials come from? How does this intersection of nature and imagination change your world? 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Patternless Patterns

Beautiful patterns make us feel at home. They provide a sense of order and connection. They offer hope that the world can make sense. Within the fixed walls of architecture, patterns, such as checkerboard floors, create a sense of depth and movement. Often we try to turn the moving patterns of nature, like the cycles of sun and moon, into solid concepts. We attempt to make the fluid terrain of living into a frozen map that defines the coordinates of where we are and where we go.

Yet, the liquid patterns of nature are much too subtle and varied for our minds to grasp. They slip through the grids of our clever formulas. The shifting designs of the world are trickster-allies constantly loosening our false grip on reality. 

I experienced this the moment the photo above appeared on my computer screen.
It was instantly beautiful and mystifying. What it showed, I didn't know, but it was somehow familiar. The description explained that this was a photo of stingrays migrating off the Yucatan coast. 10,000 of them out there flapping their stingrays wings in unmeasurable permutations of form and color. The infinite weaving of their patternless pattern-making carried my mind from the neatly understood bounds of daily concerns into spacious wonder. It sparked the notion that the patternless patterns of nature are constantly breathing life into every moment. 

As I type here and now, Rain taps it's un-mappable symphony on Roof. Wind dances the infinite variation tango with Leaves. Somewhere, Sun shimmers on Water's rippling geometries. Birds flash bright wings through a crazy canopy of branches and flowers. 

Genuinely green architecture attunes itself to nature through patterns that search for the patternless. The odd paradox facing us is that truly sustainable design requires dwelling places that invite continuous change. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Pattern Project

Patterns are everywhere. In architecture around the world, patterns are tattooed across floors, walls and ceilings. It's as if 5,000 years ago someone said, "Let's take a circle, a triangle and a square and see all the combinations we can make." They took the tendency of the mind to perceive the raw mystery of creation and draw elusive currents into lines of connection. Some marked their places with simplified grids, reducing vast possibilities to an x axis and a y axis. Others took the circle-triangle-square group and spun them into designs that confound the mind's desire to pin things down. Instead they outlined pathways of line and color that open and open beyond limits.

Into this Pattern Project, the geometers of every age wove wisdom about dwelling here now. They depicted how, up close, individual forms might appear to stand alone. When you step back, you see how each individual form grows out of and supports a network of living. They showed how different shapes and colors might appear to be in conflict. Yet, placing them together creates a dynamic dance of unexpected possibilities. The Pattern Makers displayed how the beauty of the lines are important, but it's the spaces in between that make a design come alive. They said so much more.

Look at the patterns you come across and see what the Pattern Project has to tell you. Maybe you can join in and see what you can create with a circle, triangle and square.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Everyday Altars

Altars are a microcosms of the world. On them, we honor what we believe is sacred. We leave off what we think is profane. Altars concentrate the mess and mystery of living into focal points of order and clarity. They are stage sets for the creation story each of us uses to shape the forces and substances of nature into the architecture of dwelling. A Christian altar inflects the world toward a different narrative than a Buddhist one. An altar in a tropical jungle might be laden with orchids and papayas. One in a desert might be decorated with stones and bones. 

Our minds are altar-makers. They are raised places, moving through the world, filtering and sculpting sensory data into stories. These altars of the mind honor what aligns with our preferences and reject what doesn't fit our values.

Homes and cities provide countless physical altars where we honor the varied actions of living. In a kitchen, the cooktop is an altar for transforming raw food into nourishing meals. The bathroom sink is a raised place where we honor the purification and beautification of the body. A bed honors sleeping, dreaming and loving. An office desk is an altar to creativity and commerce. Apples stacked in a grocery store bin honor nature in the marketplace of exchange.

On these everyday, altars we concentrate nature into seeds of imagination. Day after day we cultivate some of these seeds and weed out others. Through choice after choice to honor this and neglect that. In this way, the garden of the world is formed and reformed. Mostly we tend the garden unaware of what is designing us and what we are designing. Yet, each stopping point—a desk, a table, a market bin and more—offers us a chance perceive what the world is offering itself and that select ways to interact with it that foster sustaining ways of dwelling here now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Abundance is in the Details

"God is in the details." This observation is attributed to the architect, Mies van der Rohe. Somehow it got turned around to "the Devil is in the details." Maybe God and the Devil share the same small places. Maybe they are not there at all and it's how we handle the details that determines whether they make a design sing or screech. 

This weekend I ate one of those meals served in four courses where the food covers about 2% of the plate. On the one hand, it was a laughable and pretentious situation. On the other, it invited me to appreciate every molecule of the food. In the planning, preparation and serving, every nuance of flavor, texture and color of this meal had been considered. It was beautifully done and I ate it in that spirit. Weirdly, the volume of food was miniscule, but by the end of the meal my belly was full.

I find this with perceptions of architecture and nature. The most boring and functional place becomes wonderful when I allow myself to appreciate the details.
How  sunlight falls on a window sill, the sculptural shape of a faucet, the pattern of cracks in a sidewalk can come alive just by opening my eyes and mind to them. 

In these lean times clouded with fear of worse, maybe there we can find some abundance in the details.