By Katherine Gotthardt This morning and I’m thinking of the wolpertinger, shy but fierce creature of the night. Bavarian, so it sounds exotic. I don’t even know where Bavaria is. I chide myself for being so American, so unworldly, so dependent on Google to spotlight everything deficient about me. Surely I should know these things by now, right? The creature, the geography? The lore behind the story, anything’s story? The way maps come about, or how the world changes, one word at a time? And how the universe can possibly spin so quickly, just outside my basement window, while I sit here typing and wondering about algorithms and my search history? Perhaps I’ll delve again into German myth and history. Or explore the Tibetan hillside. Or hop over to India and see those temples I’ve wanted to see since I was in my 20s when everything started to make sense because I simply asked the right people. The Hindu woman I worked for. My Greek world history professor. The students from every nook of the globe, (ironically, asking me how to learn English). Once, later in life, I visited a Buddhist temple and practically interrogated the poor young monk. He talked kindly of the ancient ways, ancestors and tradition, the slow growing chasm between old and new. And now I am thinking about a lifetime of such things, the cloistered Catholic nuns, the Franciscan monastery, robed brothers chanting, tassels swinging from their waists with every clack of the brass censer. The Unitarian minister who joked “smells and bells,” but I don’t mind a bit of tradition, a bit of ritual. I think about my own rituals, every morning, up too early, lighting a candle, drinking coffee and writing like a fiend before the sun even awakes. I dive into my search, explore randomness, read about neuroscience or diseases or leadership or books on Eastern meditation applied to psychology. Sometimes it’s a poem that gets me, other times a picture. But now I am thinking it’s more important that at this age, I still want to learn, still want to explore, and kudos to me for still having drive to understand. I might never get to India. I might never see the inside of a Hindu temple or speak to another monk. But I can keep open every tab, every page, every sacred place of inquiry and respect for those things that keeps life interesting, the things that make meaning. Even if I do it in the dark.