A Day in the Life

German athletes train for the canoe slalom in Rio de Janeiro,
all frenzied movement and frothy water.

Women wait for sterilization at a hospital in Caracas,
looking through folders of paperwork.
Mothers sit on the grass in a park in Bogota,
breastfeeding their babies in public
and cheerfully giving the thumbs-up to the photographer.

Windows 10 offers me some odd things, but perhaps none odder than this: photographs from around the world, taken (or published online, at least) in the last 24 hours. It’s part of the news feed on my Start menu, sort of a day in the life of the world.

Women in saris wail in the street
as a civilian killed by police bullets is carried to his funeral.
A man is caught in close-up, all sweaty-browed,
during a gymnastics training routine in Rio.
UN-backed Libyan fighters rest on a beach
before firing a shell from a Soviet tank at ISIS fighters.

The photos have nothing in common ““ not one to the next, and not as a whole.

An Emirates Airlines airplane burns on a runway in Dubai.
London bobbies stand in front of a forensics tent
protecting the site of a knife attack.
A Colombian goalie dives for the ball in a women’s soccer match,
presumably in Rio again.

Well, they have this in common: They’re all related to current events or to celebrities of some sort.

The Governor of La Paz poses beneath signs
proclaiming the objectives
of his hunger strike,
now in its tenth day.

Hillary Clinton poses with two ties,
to make a point about Donald Trump’s outsourcing practices.
Mariah Carey poses with some buff, half-dressed men
for a reason not clear to me even with the caption.

And they have this in common, too, I guess: None of them are related to me or to my life, at least not in any meaningful way.

Three wrecked vehicles sit together
on the sagging roof of a bombed-out car repair centre in Syria.
Five family members in Wales stand together
with their lottery cheque for 61 million Euros.
Fifteen or so sailboats jostle together,
apparently in training for a race. Rio again?

What I am to make of all this, I do not know. I do know that the ones I like best are quirky, with no fire, violence, death, celebrity, politics, lottery, or Olympics link.

A boy wearing a red plastic mask
walks through an industrial area in India.

The caption?
“A boy wearing a red plastic mask
walks through an industrial area in India.”

All right, then.
With a sharp-looking jet in the background,
two men in flight suits stand on a runway in Ukraine,

holding model jet planes above their heads at the same angle.
 The caption?
“Jet pilots practice manoeuvres.”

It’s cool to see all these images from around the world, but it’s weird, too. It’s not 24 hours in any one person’s life but it is, somehow, our collective day, or little snippets thereof.

And so, you know, it got me to thinking. What photos and captions would I use to illustrate my day?

A rumpled bed, on rising.

I start my day in rumpledness.


Two halves of a red grapefruit.

A grapefruit prepares to give me its all.


Weeds overtaking daylilies and rose bush.

How does my garden overgrow?


Screenshot of scheduled posts on blog.

Do I work? When necessary. Do I blog? Whenever possible.


Two-thirds solved Rubik's Cube.

I figure two outta three ain’t bad.


Skeletal leaf on granite boulder

Sometimes I find a leaf that has landed just so . . . sometimes not so much.


Quilted pillow close-up.

I end my day wrapped in beauty and precision.

I have some work to do to make it onto Reuters, but at least it’s my life, not an amalgam of other people’s moments.


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10 Responses to A Day in the Life

  1. Sweet. Your images and captions are a huge relief from around the world.

    John says of the news, it is 100% “Things are bad and getting worse. Film at 11.” He hasn’t watched TV news for 8 years, not since Obama won. J’s window on the world is me: and there is not much to pass on that isn’t negative these days. I do subscribe to Huffington’s What’s Working which is great! Know hope.

  2. I often wonder how to “align” those stories considered to be newsworthy with my circle of concern and of influence. My education has built various filters into my thought processes to strain much of the media doom and gloom out of my decision-making, although the daily dragon scurries through the waking hours like a shape-shifter. What does impact my thinking as real and worrisome has an effect on my mood and I consciously try to counter that tendency in my circle of influence. Without living in a state of denial, we must find ways of making the best of the reality we’re facing and may be running into. The busy, ordered, beauty-touched life yours illustrates may be the very best repellent to threats of many kinds.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I sometimes worry that I restrict my circle of concern based on an unduly restricted assessment of my circle of influence. Surely there’s something I can do about the Congo, or genocide, or gun violence, or habitat loss, and so on? Well, likely that’s true, if I pick one or two issues outside my normal ambit, but not if I try to tackle all of them. And doing “something” is not the same as “fixing,” either – something I need to remember, both to keep me sane and to keep me doing what I can, without being weighed down by inappropriate guilt. (Love the “daily dragon” – reminds me of an otherwise dismal movie where the punchline of a long story was, “When you know your own dragon, you don’t need to be afraid any more.”)

      • Me, too, in spades, Isabel. Especially where my little acknowledged expertise on the ear-brain connection is concerned. I am surrounded by people whose hold on life depends on their learning what I have tried to teach. Dan gets it. He managed to become diligent in his listening program, even while schizophrenic, which is amazing. He regained left-brain dominance 22 July. He has a profound understanding of the importance of ear exercise to maintain his self-control as he tackles other issues in his life. He is in a strong position to help others now. Today, his younger brother had a very brief seizure in the car on the way to a swimming hole. What if it had happened in the water? His partner realized with a new urgency that he must stop smoking. His ability to exercise certain kinds of self-control has been compromised by his stroke. She must become his strength while he continues to recover. When we discussed the triggers to this seizure, she observed they also included damaging sound sources, something I tried to talk about a few weeks ago but was ignored. Today’s episode was a big wake-up call. “Coincidentally,” yesterday they had been watching documentaries on stroke and the importance of getting off cigarettes. He had expressed his intention to stop. The seizure will have shaken his left-brain dominance so quitting will be more difficult unless he begins music therapy. At least three people in their family need music therapy; her appreciation for that route of healing is pivotal to it happening. She has been impressed with Dan’s healing and is one of the few people who has been witness to his recovery process. When she takes the lead in music therapy for her family, the changes will be just as astonishing and even more persuasive. Once people who have distrusted this therapy see its results, they become converts and spread the news. These young people may be far more powerful witnesses to this therapy than I. They know others in desperate need. Making people more rational and self-controlled, which is what focused listening does, has a direct bearing on genocide, gun violence, and a great many other problems. Thus, I will continue to think globally and act locally and pray that this version of the Good News will continue to spread.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          Laurna – Rational and controlled behaviour – yes, we could all use some more of that! I’ll hope to soon hear as good news about Alex as you now have about Dan.

  3. Barry Jewell says:

    “News” is an “entertainment” channel.

    Seems to me that since they found that a “high-speed” chase at 45kph was watchable the demand has been to show something. No matter the global interest you must manufacture a time-filler.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barry – Neil Postman (who wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death, an indictment of how TV had changed public discourse) said that the most pernicious phrase in TV news was “And now this . . .” followed by something completely unrelated to the previous item. We seem to have learned how to view the world in little bite-sized pieces – and now, maybe, can’t see it any other way. And with the 24/7 demand for content, something’s gotta give – quality and coherence, I guess.

  4. Marion says:

    Although I had succumbed to the inevitable upgrade to Windows 10, I hadn’t done much more than set it up to emulate something like what I was already used to. I had seen that “News” icon, but not paid much attention to it. So today, inspired by your post, I clicked on it, and found a mini-survey of sorts, designed to “Select or search for your favourite interests to read about in My News”. Someone/thing had already ‘starred’ a few suggestions that I corrected. Then I had to choose: “We’ll send you notifications when major news breaks. Keep breaking news alerts on?” Now that’s a hard one. I do want to know if, say, North Korea has unleashed a nuclear strike on North America (or anyone, really), but can I wait to find out that Trump has given up the race? Well, I’ll give it a try and see what it comes up with.
    The first two stories I was presented with were “50 most violent cities in the world” and a photo of a “Man trying to scale Trump Tower”. This will be an interesting trial, I can see that.
    But I do see the one you referred to, I think, Isabel: “Top photos of the past 24 hours.” I’ll start with that.
    Every day’s a school day.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Hah! I have, thus far, avoided the dreaded survey. Decisions, decisions, eh? Let me know how the trial goes.

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