Wednesday, August 20, 2008

tune of the cosmic dust

(title from an entry in Caitlin Matthews' The Celtic Spirit)


Human beings, vegetables, cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.

-Albert Einstein

(image courtesy of my husband)


This week the tune of the cosmic dust seems more apparent, as one thing happens and seems almost magically to link up to a next thing, in a sequence that fits perfectly but was not planned, nor could have been, by me.

Sunday I woke up to Salina's enlarged udder, and rolled through the day with that on my mind. Her quick response to the homeopathic remedy carried through to Monday, when talking with the vet, I was able to get validation and also offer some needed information to his office staff about bringing a horse down to the area to board.

Monday afternoon we arrived at my daughter's dressage lesson to find the trainer in the midst of many emergencies: the barn loft was literally falling, and being supported by steel support beams carried in by a construction team. A load of footing was being delivered into the arena, not at all on the schedule she had arranged. It was dumped in the wrong part of the arena and was the wrong kind of sand.

The Grand Prix schoolmistress horse my daughter rides was a pillar of grace. She stood quietly while being tacked up in a paddock, the sound of hay bales being dropped from the temporarily secured loft and landing on a metal trailer didn't bother her. The dump truck maneuvering didn't alarm her.

And when we walked out to the arena for the lesson, the trainer put on her ribboned hat and proceeded to teach, marking off a section of the arena where there were no mountains of orange sand blocking the way, so my daughter could ride.

I learned that there was more still going on: a family member diagnosed with a scary disease, three horses lame, a family pet in surgery.

Needless to say, I received a lesson on Monday, and it was seeing grace under pressure.

My husband announced the beach plans that evening, and wonderfully, a good friend and former writing partner was free on such short notice to come for an impromptu writing retreat this weekend. She told me when I emailed that she had been working on her book all day, and had been feeling the need to give it special time this week. And now we will pool our creative energies and move forward.

Tuesday we began preparing for the pizza/movie night tomorrow, when 11 pre/early teens will gather and plan some activities for their fall. They're all excited about meeting, and there was a last-minute rush of RSVPs that added to the excite.

I got in bed last night tired and realized my left breast was having an unusual sensation. (it's Salina's left udder that is swollen) It felt like something clearing. A pressure releasing. I breathed a sigh of relief. She is in no pain, nor would I let her be, and has no symptoms beyond the swelling. But of course I have been aware continuously that the swelling needs to reduce for things to be completely normal. I suspect I'll find today that that symptom too is resolving.

It's being one of those spans of time when I can almost see the bigger machination turning and spinning - where things fall into place and one thing sets up another.

It reminds me of my most favored Mark Helprin passage, from his novel The Winter's Tale:

Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, the position of the electron, or the occurrence of one astonishingly frigid winter after another. Even electrons, supposedly the paragons of unpredictability, are tame and obsequious little creatures that rush around at the speed of light, going precisely where they are supposed to go. They make faint whistling sounds that when apprehended in varying combinations are as pleasant as the wind flying through a forest, and they do exactly as they are told. Of this, one can be certain.

And yet, there is a wonderful anarchy, in that the milkman chooses when to arise, the rat picks the tunnel into which he will dive when the subway comes rushing down the track from Borough Hall, and the snowflake will fall as it will. How can this be? If nothing is random, and everything is predetermined, how can there be free will? The answer to that is simple. Nothing is predetermined; it is determined, or was determined, or will be determined. No matter, it all happened at once, in less than an instant, and time was invented because we cannot comprehend in one glance the enormous and detailed canvas that we have been given -- so we track it, in linear fashion, piece by piece. Time, however, can be easily overcome; not by chasing the light, but by standing back far enough to see it all at once. The universe is still and complete. Everything that ever was, is; everything that ever will be, is -- and so on, in all possible combinations. Though in perceiving it we imagine that it is in motion, and unfinished, it is quite finished and quite astonishingly beautiful. In the end, or rather, as things really are, any event, no matter how small, is intimately and sensibly tied to all others.



I propose that today we all stand back and breathe, take it all in, and celebrate the vista. That's my plan for the day.

8 comments:

mamie said...

Have you read Mark Helprin's book A Soldier of the Great War? Ranks as one of my all-time favorite books. I once introduced him at Quail Ridge - a thrill of a lifetime. I enjoyed the quote (and the post).

billie said...

Yes, Mamie, that book is one of my favorites too. How exciting that you got to introduce him! He's a wonderful writer.

jme said...

great post! much to ponder for me, as i've been having one of those strange, wonderful weeks of synchronicity where, for brief moments, here and there, the world seems to take on a pattern that falls into rhythm with my own little world... then it disappears again... maybe it's the recent full moon, or part of that strange energy i always feel when a change of seasons is approaching...

billie said...

jme, that's it exactly - the rhythm of the smaller picture matching up with the bigger one.

I noted the full moon too, which snuck up on my this month and I had the lovely experience of seeing something bright behind the tree line and realizing it was the full moon.

And I feel certain the approach of autumn is working its magic as well. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Liked the excerpt from Mark Helprin's book.
This was a great post and the picture your husband took is beautiful.You always seem to be so in rhythm with your animals and humans and life in general.
I must be out of tune with the universe because I can't feel any rhythm in my world at present, it all seems chaotic at the moment. I'm hoping that after my upcoming surgery is over and done with, things will return to normal and I can get back to life as usual.

billie said...

Arlene, awaiting a planned surgery is enough to throw any of us into chaos. Sending good thoughts for a successful surgery and fast and easy recovery.

I love the photo too. I have to confess, I was too lazy today to go out and find my own photo op so I cruised through his images and picked that one out.

Late this afternoon I noticed a hummingbird was at the orange trumpet vine flowers that are taking over our front porch. This particular grouping of flowers is about an inch from the window, and I was sitting on the sofa just watching it hover. That would have been my photo for today had it happened earlier and I had camera in hand. :)

Victoria Cummings said...

I'm so glad that Salina is doing better. I willhave to look for the Mark Helprin book that Mamie recommended. That's a great quote. Thanks for the tip on the Lyme Disease homeopathic doctor that you left on my blog - I'm going to check him out. Your writing retreat sounds like my idea of a perfect way to welcome in the change of season. It already feels like fall up here, but I know that we've still got hot days to come.

billie said...

Victoria, thanks, and good thoughts/energy to both you and Siete as you work on Lyme stuff. It's so hard when things aren't right with the horses - but in the end I think going through these things deepens the relationships we have with them.

The other thing I have to constantly remind myself is that I don't have physically perfect days all the time either - and life goes on, and it isn't the end of the world. The horses, with our good care, will manage too.

I'm ready for some cooler days too but I also know there will come that one (and then more) cold night(s) when I stand in the barn shivering and wish for warmth. :)