Sunday Styles in today's New York Times gave us more than one piece about love, today being Valentine's Day. What works and what doesn't in matters where "working" is an apt action word. Modern Love (always provocative), and something about Valentine's Day when you're alone, when you're wistful, when you're spending too much time on Facebook, when you're a gay or lesbian couple living in a State that tells them they're exempt from loving. Each story is short with a quippy "happy" ending, seemingly improbable for its too sensitive and personal voice. Like watching the wedding of strangers, the couple sharing their love in front of an audience of acquaintances throwing rice and clutching hankies-- and you & me watching from across the street, a vantage point that makes it seems a little put-on. That was my take on the New York Times vignettes. Call me a cynic. I'm happier doing my thing at home with my own cast of characters, listening to the ultimate in cynics, Rickie Lee Jones, sing about sad things on Valentines Day.

I've read so mcuh of late, about dreary February, and I just don't share the opinion. There's a certain recovery thing going on in February. Recovery, like coming up for air, or the day you know a flu is behind you. Snow comes, but it melts faster and is followed by incongruous flashes of a red bird or a round green patch. In North Carolina where I grew up there is a real and dependable February thaw. I remember dry and bright college mornings breathing Carolina lighter than air.

I love February, not because I have a beloved with whom I exchange a valentine, nor for the quick follow-up 6 days later of the day of my birth. It's that I believe in recovery, like forgiveness. February is over almost as soon as it starts, then March, and March is Spring. When color comes in longer flashes and the weight of dark begins to lift.



Time has come to bring it all together again. It has been a year of making and manufacturing, of building creativity in places it didn't exist. You can feel it, see it. There's new momentum for so many of us.

The Daily Now is moving home. May this archive of cool and creative prompts live on for you. Go deep in, find the writing and art, photos and songs that made you move, every day this past year. The archive will always be here. Remember it. Click here to save it in your favorites.

And from here on, you'll find it back on the New Now. We're picking up our own pieces, and when we come up to look around, holy cow, it's us - it's our turn to take the reins and lead this place out of the mess it's in!

If creativity and responsibility work at once, we'll make this the better world.

Crisis and change makes us new, makes us something we haven't been. The New Now is about finding it where it is, it's the juice to create. We're turning crisis into momentum.

The painting of the bus is by Morgan Blair, "freelance illustrator, fine artist, and desperado. Recent graduate of RISD, now living in Brooklyn and continuing to advance her interest in trees, legos and excellent music."


3 Beautiful Things, for February 1st

February brings a newness you feel but shouldn't believe. Rounding the corner, it's happening beneath our feet. Rebirth, growth, the tiny signs of thaw.

3 Beautiful Things for February 1st

1 - Waiting for the bus at 8 something this morning, we see a family come to their curb about 500 feet before our stop. Mom waiting with child, she walks out to the middle of our country road and dances a funny dance, legs akimbo. Child doubles over for her craziness.

2 - Reading Kathryn Stockett's "The Help", an eerily real novel about black maids and the white women they work for. Stockett's voice, she was sprung from the latter, is an innate memory, she knows the dialect, the love tinged with deep, faraway regret, the voice of a black woman raising white children. This novel is my chance to imagine what could have been, freedom and individuality for Dowdell, the black woman who "raised me". I salute you, Dowdell.

3 - At basketball practice for 7th and 8th grade girls, a perfect snapshot of 'before' and 'after'. Girls and women, arms entwined, jumping for the same balls. Before: the gangly beautiful pre-adolescents; childlike, blossom, unopened. After: full and free, an unnameable knowing. On one court.