I think it is easy to underestimate the power and pervasiveness of symbols in our daily lives. Humans are a symbolic creature. The first works of art, paintings drawn on the walls of caves 20 millennia ago, are symbols of people, buffalo, animals. It is an amazing power to be able to look at something and represent it with something else, and it is this power, as much as anything, that makes us human. Our language is symbols, our writing is symbols, our art is symbols, our religion is symbols — the world we live in is replete with symbology, and we use them to such a thorough extent that it is easy to forget something is a symbol and not the reality.

This month we take a look at signs and symbols. We begin with Emily Ann Epstein’s look at anti-Semitism in Argentina, My first swastika. Colette Coleman gives us a glimpse of Tortola in her piece Finding the belongers. In Haiti, before the ground shook, Gergana Koleva takes us to Haiti and shares her experiences of the country before it was changed unalterably in the recent earthquake. Chelsea Rudman reviews Barbara Ehrenreich’s newest book in Getting negative about thinking positive. Finally, we close with four poems from Terry Lowenstein, titled March hare and Eire green.

In a world dominated by symbols, I find it refreshing to remind myself that although symbolic thinking can be a useful and frequently essential shorthand, it cannot replace the urgency of direct, immediate experience. While we are quite adept at using symbols to communicate and share our internal states with one another, I am constantly reminded experience — that which is most pure, that which is most direct — cannot be shared, but rather only reflected, like the sun’s rays reflecting from the full moon.

I am a writer/editor turned web developer. I’ve served as both Editor-in-chief and Technical Developer of In The Fray Magazine over the past 5 years. I am gainfully employed, writing, editing and developing on the web for a small private college in Duluth, MN. I enjoy both silence and heavy metal, John Milton and Stephen King, sunrise and sunset. Like all of us, I contain multitudes.

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