I believe in signs. On Saturday as I walked past the library I noticed that someone had placed a rock on top of a tree trunk. I’d never noticed the trunk before, and couldn’t remember what the tree had looked like or just when it was cut down. Walking down that corridor—Flatbush Avenue, with Prospect Park on one side and the Botanic Garden on the other—always starts me dreaming. It’s a valley of shadows. I’d just passed the garden and wondered who had planted the corn stalks that are growing halfway up the steep slope that rises beyond the garden’s spiked cast iron fence. Then the library was on my right, and I happened to glance at that tree trunk with the rock. I looked from the rock to the space-age public toilet that was installed on the other side of the street and knew both would find their way into this new book. Went for a run on Sunday and as I passed the boulder marking Battle Pass, noticed someone had tagged it with purple spray paint. Immediately heard D’s voice, “Some kids got no respect.” Thought about going back to take a picture but kept on going. Came home, got on the train to head downtown and realized I’d left my wallet behind…got off at the next station and walked home through my old neighborhood of Prospect Heights. As I headed down Washington Ave. with the garden on my right, a flash of red caught my eye—a cardinal swooped past and perched on the fence just a foot or two away. Then his mate called him and he slipped back inside the garden and out of sight. If I hadn’t left my wallet and taken that route home I would have missed my friend; he finds me whenever I’m in the garden, but I haven’t been there in a while because my visitor pass expired. Didn’t renew it because I thought I might be leaving the city, but now I know I’m here for good. And for a reason. Am designing a course on Race & Environmental Justice and had just added “Shell in Nigeria” to my list of topics when Nayani posted this on Facebook. A good hook to get students interested in Ken Saro-Wiwa…everything’s connected.