Last night a storm blew through. The wind and driving rain woke me up. I went downstairs to check the front door, which had been popping open if not latched properly, leading to a couple of mad scrambles to close it before the dogs ran out. One dog in particular seems to have his heart set on a walkabout.
The door was secure. I returned up the stairs and to bed. I slept more, but according to my Misfit it wasn’t very good sleep. The evenings have been sociable and I have been drinking. Sleep suffers.
When the wind howls it is easy to imagine that the universe is speaking. I gather the warmth of the cottage around me like a protective blanket, aware that there is little between me and chaos, but grateful that there is something.
The windy rain reminds me of the crazy rapids under the bridge and along the side of the Roundhouse in Beacon. When the rains come, chaotic energy thunders through. It becomes the destructive-creative center of the universe. I like to stand on the bridge above its maw and let it exhilarate me.
And now I think of the rock outside the cottage, beside the grassy driveway. I photograph its enduring sameness as often as I am on Block Island. There it sits, unchanged, unmoving, waiting to pull me into its orbit. I wonder about all the things that have danced around it during its perpetual slumber. Are we but the shadows of its gravitational dreams? The rock is a barker of the eternal, if not the-thing-itself.
We believe that Einstein proclaimed all things to be relative, but he preferred a theory of invariance to a theory of relativity. His idea — there are universal constants, which necessarily give rise to relativities. Vast swaths of humankind took the relativities to their symbolic hearts and transformed them into something other-than-the-thing-itself because it somehow helped them make sense of the world.
In a universe billions of years old, the rock is mutability. How much bigger was it before the glaciers moved it south in the last ice age? What was it part of? What shaped it before and since? Where did it come from? Where is it going?
The rock sits on the crest of a hillock wave in the landscape, surrounded by neatly trimmed grass. When I walk out the door, its invisible pull captures my mind and then my body. Space and time warp. The rock is a Haiku in its rigorous simplicity, the finite thing through which the infinite rushes in.
And now there are thoughts about the tree in the middle of the cemetery in Beacon that the universe tried so hard to kill before its time. It refused to die and, heroically, continues to sprout in the spring and bear fruit in the summer, giving testament to the tenaciousness of life, standing defiantly in the midst of a desert of certainty about life’s limits.
In aboriginal fashion, I find my spiritual bearings in the eternal rock, the tenacious tree and the destructive-creative center. Through their triangulate lens my being is focused and I learn about the brevity of me, the ferocity of life and the enormity of the universe.