March 20, 2022.

First day of spring after a week of highs and lows. My highest high: the first image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope’s fully aligned mirror segments. Released on March 16, the first day of Purim, it shows a bright star that reminds me of The Star of Bethlehem. 

My lowest low? Putin’s massacre in the Ukraine; which the free world still can’t stop. 

There was also astrophysicist Eugene Parker’s death on March 15th which reminded me of talking on Kitt Peak about The Parker Solar Probe, named for him and launched in 2018 on a seven-year mission to get closer to the Sun than any human-built spacecraft yet. It’ll study the solar wind—a flow of the charged particles that Parker, in the 1950s, got ridiculed for suggesting exists. Death also took my writer friend Lynn Rogalsky, a gentle soul, who left on Purim, usually a joyous Jewish holiday. The war in the Ukraine subdued many celebrants in 2022, both for Purim and for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. I can’t help but wonder if this was how World War II began, with free world leaders trying their best not to provoke a beast from even more destruction. 

Things are different now, of course. For instance, we’ve got email. Among mine on St. Paddy’s: Breaking News: Some survivors pulled from the rubble of a theater hit by the Russians.” sandwiched between Kohls: Last Chance for 20% Off! and a Public Library Courtesy Notice. Strange world. Thousands are dying, while I get to finish my breakfast in peace, read heart-wrenching news, then delete ads, and remind myself to return Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go because it’s on hold. The sci fi novel resonated with me, as did Ishiguro’s more recent Klara and the Sun. I’ll query his agent about my own sci-fi novel, Reflections of Elba. 

And while I edit my query for the hundredth time, happy first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere. Because planets revolve, it’s also the first day of Autumn in the Southern hemisphere. Both halves have an equinox today, a moment when day and night are the same length. Hopefully, humanity survives to enjoy the next equinox, on nature’s calendar for next September. (See

And until next week, I’ll note that Putin’s power grab has surpassed Covid-19 as humanity’s main reason for anxiety meds. If I were an extraterrestrial watching what’s going on here, I might suggest all peace-loving Homo sapiens stop whatever they’re doing to keep this planet humming, and go on strike until Putin’s forces of evil have no food, no weapons, no fuel, no choice but to give up, and as John Lennon imagined, “the world will live as one.”