The universe says you'll get smacked with a lesson as many times as it takes for you to learn it— If that's so, what lesson could possibly be in this tiny, annoying hair that keeps growing back in the same spot, on the right side of your chin? You stand on tiptoe to get a better angle at the mirror; tweezers in hand, you pull it out, marveling at how a small irritation commands total absorption. A week later, it's back—nagging feeling, indetermnate itch. In Virginia Beach, 4 dead humpback whales have washed up on the shore since the beginning of the year— you could say they are also a kind of lesson that hasn't been learned. Necropsies show injuries consistent with vessel strikes in waters thick with ship traffic. If the world is ending, each cetacean body that perishes on sand is a fallen leaf, a wound bled open in the middle of a horizon of false starts. We keep saying there's time, the window's still open. Until it's not.