Letter From New York 12 19 14 Tis the season for cyber warfare and hope…

Earlier today I returned from New York. I settled in and built a fire in my Franklin stove, put on Christmas Carols and, at this minute, can see the flames dancing in the stove and can look across the creek. All the snow has melted but there is still beauty in the land, the flowing water and the occasional squirrel that darts across the deck. There was a woodchuck that occasionally meandered across but he seems to have gone to ground for the winter.

The first day of winter is Monday and Christmas quickly follows. It looks like I will be doing a great deal of entertaining and I’ll spend part of the afternoon working on menus. It seems I’ll be having people on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, December 26th.

I’m looking forward to it. It always feels fun when the Cottage is full of people and there’s laughter and merriment. There is no need for me to go back to New York now until the second week in January so I have a long stretch of time here.

As I was riding the train up the east side of the Hudson River, the FBI declared North Korea the source of the Sony Pictures hacking disaster. Just before I sat down to write, President Obama held his end of year press conference and stated that pulling THE INTERVIEW was a mistake.

It is a hot topic. A few weeks ago, it actually seemed a little funny albeit sad. Now it is a full blown international incident. In my weekly phone call with my friends Medora and Meryl we had a spirited conversation about it. Medora thought it was the official end of the world as we know it. We all knew that what we surrender to the digital world is no longer ours but now we know it in a very visceral sense.

It’s one of those moments when something changes and everyone is aware of it, a tectonic shift in the way we see the world. Cyber warfare is here and here to stay. It has been here, we’ve known about it but now it has come to our backyard. It is a sobering thought.

There are lots of things to be sober about. The planet itself is beautiful but dangerous place with storms and earthquakes and other natural disasters. And we humans inhabit it and we have a cruel tendency to violence, a fact born witness to every time we open the newspaper or watch a newscast. We humans do terrible things to one another.

But we also do amazing things for one another. An unidentified man walked into a Walmart and plopped down $50,000 to pay off layaway purchases for people he’d never met. In times of crisis we line up to help one another.

It is these things I am going to focus on these last few days before Christmas. Not the other things. Tis the season of hope and that is what I am focusing on, hope. Hope for our world, hope for myself, hope for everything.

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