Issue Thirty-Nine - Winter 2022

Look Around

By Stephanie Barbé Hammer

Greetings dear readers!

Our Winter 2022 issue invites you to look at the not so see-able and perhaps even to learn to seek out what cannot — normally — be perceived. Appropriately, this issue contains invisible babies, lunar seashells, unnoticed birds, unspoken tensions between families, paternal scars, and wondrous insects. What marvels lurk in laundromats and along the byways of the everyday? How do we — in this age of very real limits — quest for and discover the magical and the miraculous?

Perhaps these offerings invite us to consider that, these days especially, we are lucky to be alive at all in a world filled with conflicts, pandemics and natural catastrophes. Perhaps it is not just a burden, but also a privilege to notice and mindfully inhabit our damaged yet beautiful biosphere, where so much has been lost, and yet so much of value remains. As we tell our troubles to each other in fiction, drama, poetry, and nonfiction, new insights for repair may emerge in the nick of time, before our fed-up environment packs her bag and drives away forever.

Speaking of driving — my husband and I felt a powerful combination of concern and appreciation as we drove down the western coast of the US in our brand new electric car this past fall. Driving an EV obliges you to plan more carefully than driving with gas; you have to organize stops at specific designated places, for specific lengths of time. It’s limiting in this sense, and yet that limit enabled us to see things we would not have seen otherwise. We had the time to see the drastic, drought-caused reduction of the water levels at Lake Mead, and we also experienced the miraculously silly “One Log House” in Garberville, California, because there was a charging station there. And because we had to hang out there and kill time while our car charged, we took a few steps and happened upon a stand of my favorite trees in the world – the Sequoia. The big redwoods. So many redwoods have been decimated by the fires in California, as you know. And yet, here some were by the highway, nestled between a tourist attraction and a gift shop. We encountered some more redwoods again at a rest stop. Just standing there by the bathrooms and the garbage cans. Enormously gorgeous, but not immediately apparent from the road.
I hope you’ll make many gorgeous discoveries reading these selections.

As always, thank you for reading and supporting SHARK REEF with your valuable attention.

For more about my senior citizen driving adventures with my husband Larry in our brilliant electric car Anderson, check out our youtube videos:

Copyright Hammer 2022