Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Change, the Greatest Show in Town

It's the best show in town, every 11 years, according to the scientists. As a result of the sun shooting off its plasma into space in our direction, causing ionized gases, I believe, to arc around the magnetic poles, we get these strange science fiction effects of the aurora borealis, or Northern lights tonight. They should occur as a greenish or reddish glow on the horizon, if the clouds dissipate from the muggy weather we've been getting. In ancient times, they say the Inuit and Laplanders encouraged their children to behave during these appearances, and one pictures the mischievous bands carousing by the eery glow suddenly growing quiet and reverent.

These cyclical celestial events always make me think we know less about how our lives intersect with the physical universe than we like to admit. From our limited perspective, not even death and taxes are certain; the first is so unpredictable we can't even think about it, and the second is subject to the whims of politicians, almost as weird as the aurora, and a lot more unstable. No, the only thing that's a constant presence in our lives and therefore as imperceptible as water must be to fish, is change. We all know what it's like to have a mental picture of ourselves at a certain age and be shocked by the image in the mirror that greets us at those unholy early morning junctures. Blake said eternity is in love with the productions of time. Well it works the other way also; as mortals; we yearn for some stability, and all of nature seems to be the same. Look at the oak leaves clinging to the branches through the fall and winter, refusing to take their place on the forest floor.

There are some days, though, that seem prone to the ground shaking, and this is one. Susan just got a job offer this morning teaching part time at a middle school in Chichester. For the last twelve years she has been a stay-at-home Mom. The times they are a changin', for sure. The kids are happy for her, but Eve, the peasant soul of the bunch, wondered to me if she would have to come home to an empty house. We will bend over backwards to make sure that doesn't happen, because that's what we do.

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