Wormholes

When I was a little kid, like everybody else growing up in the 50’s, I knew a short cut to just about everywhere. Taking the short cut might mean sneaking over a neighbor’s fence, hiking through a patch of swamp, or swimming across the cove. The point of a short cut is to save time and be there.

Yesterday my brother and I pondered the difference between

Wormholewhat we feel is a short cut to Connecticut versus a much prettier route. It’s a classic debate between the highway or the scenic way to travel. The crux of the argument is whether the travel is worth the time on either road. On one hand, the faster one travels, until reaching the limit, which is just a tad less than light speed, time, slows down. That would put a check in the plus column for taking the highway.

Maturity in part involves skipping shortcuts. These appear to be rational decisions. After all, you could get cut on the fence (and by the way, trespassing is rarely socially acceptable), wreck your shoes in the swamp, or be caught in the current. There’s another reason for skipping short cuts. We reach a certain age when its understood that we can plan all we want for tomorrow but the future can change on a dime. Most of us hang on to memories of our past, especially the good times. Few among us want to know the excruciating details of our future.

According to physics, there are short cuts between space and time. These wormholes come in very handy when theoretically traveling between universes.  The neat thing about wormholes is that they make time travel possible. Whether the traveler gets one way or round trip tickets is still a thorny problem.

Time Travel via Wormhole

Time Travel via Wormhole

When we don’t see family and friends often, the rare get-togethers are just like wormholes. We can slip effortlessly into recollections of past times shared and transcend today with plans for tomorrow. The wormholes also seem to speed up time so that the visits go by in a blink and are quickly stashed as Facebook posts and fresh memories.

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Wormhole

Sailors know that the quickest way to anywhere is rarely straight ahead. Being on the water is about being here as opposed to just getting there. Long summer days can be measured by time spent better than by time saved. These are days for taking a time out to slow down and be present with now. Which is why, we should all be choosey about who and when we spend our time. Wormholes are hard to find and there is just so much time allotted to our journey.

The lesson learned from wormholes is, wear wings. Tempus fugit.

21 Solstice

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Cairn Garden @ Narragansett

 

Welcome to the year’s shortest night and longest day. Rhode Island kids celebrate the Summer Solstice today as the last day of school and the first day of summer. The sun it up, the sky is blue. Yes, dear Prudence, it’s beautiful.

The Druids erected a megalithic monument to the sun, Stonehenge, as a sacred center for healing. Recent visits to a dermatologist present a challenge for visualizing the sun as a healer. It’s almost impossible to imagine our brilliant celestial body as an evil spirit who entices cells to unceasingly divide, multiply and invade.

Settling into the Sea

The Roman’s accused the Druids of human sacrifices to the sun. The belief that humans must give life to protect life is a conundrum for healers.  Then again, as people  altered the earth and compromised her protective sky  we find ourselves more and more under the power of the sun. It’s only recently that sunbathing was condemned as a death wish. But we are human, after all, so we don’t have to sacrifice being out in the sunshine. As with random sex, we just have to wear protection.

Nick Copernicus ignited a revolution when he proposed that the sun is the center of the known universe. Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of astronomy is simple; the sun rules. Copernicus, like DaVinci, was a classic case of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. He enrolled at a university in Poland where he became fascinated by math but dropped out like Bill and Mark did before altering the world. He changed his major to religion and quickly moved up the cross to a position just below a bishop’s toe. Later he enrolled at another university to study canon law. He was distracted from his ecclesiastical studies by a theory that man not God rules the universe. With this in mind, Nicholas went to medical school. What better way is there to know the inner workings of a god?

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A siren call for Mermaids?

Long nights of study gave the scholar time to probe the skies and ponder the mysteries of God and the universe. Copernicus’ thoughts were illuminated by the moon, stars, and candles as he tried to figure out the scientific and divine order that rules the universe. Rather than squint through a telescope mathematics were his vehicle for  exploration. As with Einstein half a millennium later, the numbers created a tapestry of brilliant insights. Copernicus understood that neither Earth nor man was the center of the universe. The cleric, physician, mathematician cum astronomer proclaimed that the sun was at the very heart of the world. Earth, he summarized was only the center of gravity and center of the moon’s orbit, but like Earth, it too circles the sun. Copernicus concluded that the circles go far beyond our ability to imagine such a vast expanse of space.

Many a time it is the warmth of the sun enveloping our bodies that illuminates our spirits and brings forth great thanks for the joy of living. We are all planetary bodies that orbit the sun. Each of us has a relative sense of gravity for little moons to circle around us throughout our lifetime. We’ve all been able to endure great grief and serious illnesses during long dark nights because of the most reliable fact known on earth, the sun will rise in the morning even if you are not there to welcome the day.

Today Druids greeted the summer solstice sun at Stonehenge. They still hold to a tradition that as stewards of the earth we are charged to love the land, sea, and sky. From here on the beloved shore of the Narrow River, I send love to all the moons who circle my life and make it bright – you are my sunshine.

Tidelines

When two ocean currents converge, driftwood, floating seaweed, and other flotsam tend to accumulate and create a long serpentine tideline. Lots of different things can cause currents to mate. Sometimes one body of water, like the brackish flow from our Narrow River, sinks beneath or rides over the surface of Narragansett Bay. Sometimes the wind currents play matchmaker as they take command and blend two diverse streams. When this occurs tidelines are formed by internal waves that oscillate in deeper water rather than on the surface. Sometimes the water just gets caught up with itself – swirling and whirling until it flows backwards.

ImageTidelines aren’t about tides. They are noticeable when boaters and surfers come across a line of junk that’s been cast off by nature and humans. We encounter metaphysical tidelines when summer days converge with workweeks. The former promise relaxation and the later are constrained by tight schedules. The line between the two is composed of whatever gets scuttled. Personal tidelines are created when our mind and body are blended and each gives up what it least needs to surf deep and surface waves of contentment.

Some people avoid crossing ocean tidelines because they look offensive. Ditching the debris that weighs heavy on our spirits is what summer is all about. Letting go of personal flotsam and jetsam makes summer days all the more enjoyable. Tidelines are temporary. During their brief existence they relieve two currents of stuff neither needs.

The lesson from the sea is that in order to optimize summer days, vacations, and holidays, let go of the emotional baggage, extra items on the Do List, and resistance to the natural flow of our lifestyle. At the same time, avoid cramming leisure time with unrealistic expectations and few opportunities to go quietly and deeply into your mindbody. Our work and play personas need a certain lightness of being so that we can go with the flow and take deep pleasure in waves of contentment.  That’s at least one good reason to love summer.

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Hour 19: Rainlentless

Hour 19- Rainlentless

Got Wet

Got Wet

I’ve transversed New York State horizontally for over half a century. I can’t remember making it all the way across without at least one fierce squall regardless of the season or time of day. This trip is exceptional only because the rain is relentless. The Erie Canal breeched her banks and sports white caps beneath the churning mist. We are towing Finn, our Boston Whaler. Like me, she detests semitrailers and would prefer salt water beneath her hull rather than a cockpit drenched by sooty highway rain.

Jay Gatsby took his fortune east to claim fame and accidentally pursue love.  I go East with my love secure, his hands comfortable on the wheel, nary a white knuckle to be seen. I am drawn to the New England Coast with out hope of fame or quest for fortune.  I am driven to satisfy a relentless need to measure summer days by tidal time.

We are listening to a Cards vs Mets game that seems appropriate. The Cards are winning and the announcers are flummoxed that the fierce Durocher has not yet made its way to NYC but is raising havoc in the Poconos. We don’t have great winds or hail here in the Catskills. The clouds have dipped beneath the mountains to blanket Rip Van Winkle’s resting place. Conversely, ground fog is rising to mask road hazards and exhaust weary drivers.

We might tuck in somewhere in Massachusetts between Stockton and Boston because the deluge has made driving is treacherous at best. I am not oblivious to risk as I was 50 years ago while making the trip with my parents and brother Scot. I was busy, splayed across the back seat reading Trixie Belden, begging Pop to turn the radio to the NYC station that played I Wanna Hold Your Hand and smacking Scot because he was bugging me. Seat belts didn’t exist, both folks smoked with the windows open “just a crack” and I still hadn’t figured out Mom that was pregnant with my brother Tom. It was a time of innocence protected by Pop’s confidence that he knew what he was doing. By my estimation, he was on that first trip the same age as my sons are now.

Pop moved our family east because of his growing fame as a businessman. Success secured his ethic that hard work – over time, would make his fortune. The trip was a pilgrimage to unite our family with our grandparents and extended family who lived in western, “Upstate” New York.  Rather than be torn by adolescent sturm and drang that made many of my peers yearn for places they’d left behind, if only in their imaginations, I was content in either venue. The New YorkThruway was a simple path that connected the worlds I knew and the people I loved.

Tides kept their cadence; the planet circled the sun round and round, until eventually  George and I were making a longer journey that included this Thruway to and fro with our young sons and daughter.

This annual sojourn is a constant in my life. It will be interesting to see over time how our kids and grand kids establish their own constant pathways that will bring them close to far away and back again.  I hope love travels with them, that they know what they are doing, and they can well afford all of their travel expenses.