Posts Tagged ‘Universe’

Shifting Sands Sublime

November 3, 2018

Beneath the appearance of things

behind the wonder that contemplation brings

there lies a universe of joy and pain

entrained upon whatever relics still remain

of a world colored by some eternal stain;

and wherever that stain remains

things are not and will never be the same

provoking some to surmise it’s just a game

that they can play and then refrain

from any effort to name

or explain.

And yet,

so many live for what they can get;

they allow no time to pause and let

life just happen along the way

so they can soon look back and say

what a joy it is to pause and stay

in the lingering light of a well-lived day

while the world just turns on come what may.

Oh, history breaks on sands far away

while here we enter into the fray;

we laugh or cry along the way

tomorrow and today,

I say, I say:

If I could comprehend this troubled world

so creative, yet destructively unfurled

I’d grasp the mystery, so sublime

that slaps between the sands of time

on this ever-shifting, long shoreline—

this consciousness of mine,

maybe it’s in or out of line

and maybe with a little sip of wine,

yes, I’d dream up some silly little rhyme,

and whether it be sublime and fine

or not worth a dime,

it nevertheless is mine,

and yet it can be thine

if you take the time.

 

King of Soul

A Strand of Providence

June 27, 2014

One of my favorite things to do in this life is visiting the sea strand. The beach. While growing up in Louisiana and Mississippi, our family had many excursions with fond memories to the Gulf Coast at Mississippi and Florida.

After graduation from LSU in 1973, I took a job in Florida and moved to St. Petersburg.

In my year-and-a half stay there I spent many days and hours at the beach, becoming intimately familiar with that setting–that expression of nature’s wonders.

Through many hours of studying the interaction of tidal water and surf-sand, I noticed a few things about the cycles of our life existence.

In the forty years since that Florida time I have visited many beaches throughout the world, from Calabash to Rockaway to Dover and Calais, from Hawaii to China, from Tel Aviv to Cayman to California and Carolina. I love experiencing beaches. Doesn’t everyone?

Today is our first morning in Costa Rica. We got into Liberia airport, then drove to Tamarindo, on the Pacific. So of course I got up early and walked a few hundred yards to the beach. Perfect beach: wide, flat, smooth with very pacific waves, arranged in a classic half-moon arc with nearby low mountains in the distance. Clear morning, not yet hot.

As has happened on may beaches before, the first thing I notice while approaching the surf is that cycle of dark and light bands of sand at the water’s edge, where the waves roll in gently and do their artwork in the sand. My favorite beach characteristic to notice and contemplate.

CostaWvCy

I consider these waves, their perpetual rearrangement of the sand grains, and it takes me back to the time when I first began to notice this universal cycle, back in St. Petersburg. A meditation on nature to revisit. I think I’ll linger for awhile.

Being a civilized animal, I prefer to sit in a chair while thinking. So I go back to the condo and get one.

A few minutes later I am sitting in the chair at the water’s edge, considering the ocean, the sand, the wave motions and their visual record of rearranging dark and light bands of sand, the cycles they indicate or perhaps represent, the universe, God, and ignorant armies clashing by night and Dover Beach and all that stuff.

I think the first level of such thought/meditation is analytical. Is that natural to me as a man, or is it an acquired habit? just something I was taught to do in school? I don’t know. Put that layer of analysis back in a file somewhere in my head and wait for the deeper, experiential level. I am looking at the Pacific beach, which is right in front of me now.

Wait a minute. What about all the stuff of my life that came before?

Now I am a Christian, have been since 1979, or maybe even before that when I was raised Catholic.  So, to base my analyses and judgements about life, its consequences, priorities and outcomes, etc on an ancient Revelation, the Bible, the church–what is that? How does that affect any objective analysis I may attempt? Well, sure it does.

Hey, It’s what I am. I was born into a specific place and time, with all the cultural baggage thereof.But let’s not get too analytical. By grounding my judgements on my own experience as well as ancient Revelation that was handed down to me through the ages, I am utilizing the best of both worlds– the experience of those prophets of old, primarily Jesus himself, as well as my own experience.

Now, back to the here and now. Over here in the sand, dark bands are alternating with light. There is some kind of cycle going on here, some kind of process. Been going on a long time, seems to be universal. Seeing that cycle of sand bands with my eyes is objective. Relating them to other life cycles is subjective. Can I do otherwise? No matter what theses, hypotheses, or conclusions I come to, I am a subjective man, and I will make use, in this life, of both the objective truth that is really out there, the cumulative wisdom of other men/women, and my subjective experience and evaluation of it. I’m going for the best of them all. Do I have any other choice? My options are limited.

To be human means to understand that our options are limited, so we would do well to make the best of them. Rather than dwelling on what we don’t understand, consider and act upon what we do find to be true and workable.

By the way, and I didn’t tell you this before. Yesterday, I experienced the worst pain I have ever had in my life. This was no small thing for me, although in the big picture it is insignificant. It’s over now. That’s the main thing. But the pain experience has produced an aftermath.

How did this pain happen? I had had a bout with walking pneumonia or something like it before we left North Carolina. My head was all stopped up with mucous or sinus fluid or whatever that stuff is that’s stuck in your head when you’ve got a cold. While were in the plane descending to Costa Rica, I had the most terrible half-hour of pain in my life, because I had not done the cold medications effectively.

Now this is getting pretty dam subjective, talking about pain and my health condition, like the 62-year-old-geezer that I have become. I hate it, don’t want to go that route. I’m not stuck in the wheelchair at the nursing home yet. So fuhgedaboudit.

But I do have to say something about all that physical health report stuff, because there is a lesson in it.

So I’m sitting here on the strand with my old thoughts about the universality of the surf and sand, and my right ear is still clogged with that stuff from yesterday’s struggle against walking pneumonia. I’ve been trying for days now to get rid of that mucous.

I tilt my head to the right. Something–a liquid–shifts inside my head, and suddenly I can hear more clearly.

Thanks be to God!

Maybe you think that crediting God for such deliverance from pain is a naive assumption. Who cares? It’s my life, my ear, pain. I will deal with it. I am not only going to thank God for this little relief that came in the tilting of a head,in the blinking of an eye, but I am going to use my God-given hands to begin to solve the problem.

What will happen if I gently put my  little finger in my ear and manipulate that ear canal ever-so-slightly while my head is tilted? Could such intervention, perhaps, release some of the fluid from the ear and thus alleviate some pain? I’ll try it.

I do it.

It works! Clogged ear now clearer than it was.

Praise be to God. Thank you Jesus!

Pretty subjective response, I know–this burst of grateful praise,  but I’ll gratefully accept the little strand of divine deliverance, even though I was the one who administered it.

Now, as for conclusions and evaluations about this  insignificant event while contemplating sand, waves and the universe:

The cycle of pain and absence of pain–it comes; it goes. When the pain comes, it’s hell on earth, but when it’s gone–Thank you, God. A man’s gotta roll with the tide.  I’ll take it. Not bad for a Friday morning.

CostaWvSurf

Glass half-Full

Something from Nothing

January 14, 2012

Today, I am going to expose to you my ignorance of quantum mechanics in the study of physics. Furthermore, you will plainly see that my childish grasp of the physicists’ exposition of this phenomenon is woefully inadequate, even naive.  But it doesn’t matter if you can detect right off the bat how blatantly dense is my take on the matter. You see, I am one of those who short circuits the rational pursuit of truth by inserting faith in a Creator where there should by all hypothetical propositions be an equation, or some hard-earned experimental data.

It all started with this: http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201201132, wherein Lawrence Krauss is discussing the contents of his new book,  A Universe From Nothing, with Ira Flatow, and Lawrence makes such potentially gravitational statements as “Nothing is unstable,” meaning that nothingness itself is unstable, insofar as that it has a habit of generating stuff out of itself (nothing) out in space.

“Empty space is a boiling, bubbling brew of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence in a time scale so short that you can’t even measure them.”

Spontaneous generation, we used to call it, and thinking about it is, as Lawrence points out, a little bit “like counting angels on the head of a pin.”

But somewhere in the half-life of Lawrence’s broadcast/webcast explanations, what really set my neurons hurdling  into photonic frenzies is this idea that an electron, which is whirring somewhat orbitally around a proton, cannot be adequately assessed in terms of its position in relation to the proton, or in relation to, for that matter (haha) anything else. This is because, as soon as the analyst, or scientist, casts light on the subject particle(wave) in question, in order to view the electron and make some kind of determinating statement about it, the light (the energetic effect of the light) itself alters the quarky little rascal, rendering its position indeterminable! Imagine that! Like trying to herd cats.

And Lawrence also mentioned:

“Whole universes can pop out of nothing, by the laws of quantum mechanics.”

Ha!  I was stumped.

I tried, well into the evening  and the nighttime, to wrap my warpish mind around all this, which must resemble a light beam trying to keep up with a neutrino, as the French say in Switzerland.  I was getting  a little short on the fourth dimension while trying to capture the essence of  those quarks in question and fathom their unquantifiable fidgettance. And then, as if that weren’t enough profundity to drag my faltering comprehension into a blackhole, Paul Krugman’s recent comparison between Austrian economics and the 18th-century theory of phlogiston in chemistry popped out of nowhere, not to mention Higgs-Boson confusion on top of that, and…

while I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping. . . and the faith-based  short circuit suddenly presented itself, when my friend Dave sent out his daily ditty, http://outdeep.com/2012/01/13/light-in-our-heart , which started with this conveniently accessible concept:

For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

to which my friend had also added:

 “The sovereign creativity of God to bring forth what to us would have been unthinkable is staggering.  This artistic endeavor of the Divine is used to illustrate the similar work of enlightening my heart.”

Wherefore, I in my lay-like confusion decided to just go with that, call it a day, and hit the hay, where my wife was so peacefully sleeping in preparation for today’s nursing duties. I had found a universal incarnation that I could wrap my weary mind around. Now this morning, the sun shines brightly on snow out in the back .40. Thank God for a beautiful winter day here in the inexplicable universe. Ignorance is, as they say, bliss. Grits is good too, for breakfast, with cheese.

Glass half-Full

Thanks for Frank’s perspective

March 20, 2011

I’ve been racking my brain all weekend trying to get some more story-line for the new novel, Smoke, after writing only the beginnining of chapter 1 last week.

Then I got this attachment from my friend Frank:

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=12ecf2c076bc3c1f&mt=application/vnd.ms-powerpoint&url=https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui%3D2%26ik%3D205cde5d1d%26view%3Datt%26th%3D12ecf2c076bc3c1f%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dsafe%26zw&sig=AHIEtbR6Asl7-55bXA582rCKPKbp28sY8w&pli=1

Frank sent this link to me because he is an astronomer. He’s also an engineer who has, somewhere along his 95-year orbital path, built a telescope or two after grinding the  6-inch lenses. In addition to being a smart tinkerer, he has spent years of his long life being a great singer from New Jersey, a model-airplane constructor, a sailor, husband (for a while) and father, and inventor. Frank lives at the apartment complex where I work as the maintenance guy.

Sometimes I think if we had more enterprising folks like Frank we wouldn’t be in such a dearth of employment opportunities. I wish the problem-solvers of this world could become as busy as Frank has been trying to make things work over  his 95 years on our planet.

So don’t let the long link address above intimidate you. If you haven’t yet had a good view of what the Hubble telescope is scoping up there in earth orbit, check it out. It’s definitely a perspective-adjustment.

It certainly diverted my mind from:

CrownWestm
…which is the starting point of my novel-in-progress. So far, I’ve got two characters, neither one of them are in the coronation pic above (Times of London, May 20,1937).  But my two characters, Philip Marlowe and Nathan Wachov, are just a  mile or two away, and trying to get to Trafalgar Square for a view of the new King’s return procession to Buckingham Palace.

Anyway, those Hubble shots from my friend Frank,  linked above, changed my perspective on what appears to be the “Smoke” in our universe.

Smoke, the new novel-in-progress