i have been reading the book sapiens, for the second time now (thank you, book group!), and i am struck again by the fact that what our human language first did to differentiate us from our great ape forebears, as well as our one-time brothers and sisters, the neanterthals and denisovans, was to allow us to gossip. gossip let us keep tabs on our fellow humans, which in the end was more important as an organizing principal of society than the simple ability to cry danger when a predator was near. i just spent the evening with my mom, cooking an old family recipe, and talking about our immediate family, our extended family, our high school friends, our adult friends, those who stayed together and those who broke up, those who got married for love and those who got married with a bun in the oven. previously i would have thought of it as a lightweight, gabby evening of no particular consequence. but now i realize i was actually fulfilling my destiny as a member of sapiens species of the genus homo. apparently knowing that grandma eva never forgave paul muntean and jimmy capetti for accusing her of stealing toilet paper from the church, which she would never do, was not merely gossip, but rather a genetic predisposition. see you soon, mom. save up some good stories.

juniper branch with berries (Juniperus virginiana)

rice creek trail, shoreview, minnesota

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