Follow by Email

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The day before a full moon

It's the day before a full moon, and I find myself rather feeling a bit introspective and somewhat restless. Also, for the last two weeks, I've been experiencing repeated moments of synchronicity, too mundane to relate, but significant to me in their precision.

Today, I received an email from a new friend, with whom I had occasion to share the following excerpt (from Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale). She told me that only an hour before speaking with me yesterday, someone that she'd just met had encouraged her to read this very same book. Her enthusiasm about this synchronicity was a tremendous encouragement to me this morning. I am pleased that, despite my relative distraction and introspection about my upcoming wedding, I am inexplicably plugged-in on some other level. Comforting.

The following words were shared with me a number of years ago while I was in a tempestuous relationship that ended up completely falling apart...and quite contentiously, at that. It never got talked through or sorted out, and I accepted some time ago that it likely never would be. Sometimes closure is found without the other individual's assistance or participation.

Still, I'm grateful that this relationship delivered Winter's Tale to me. As time continues to heal that part of my life, the bad parts fade from my mind more and more. And I suspect that he would be glad that what memory I retain of him is associated with these words:

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 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. All rivers run full to the sea; those who are apart are brought together; the lost ones are redeemed; the dead come back to life; the perfectly blue days that have begun and ended in golden dimness continue, immobile and accessible; and, when all is perceived in such a way as to obviate time, justice becomes apparent not as something that will be, but as something that is.