Today was a big ol’ day in Trumpington, USA.
Please believe me. I haven’t so much as glanced at a headline.
I voted and am not worrying my scraggly little beard about it at all.
Instead, I started the day with a ride to San Pedro with an old friend. He was telling me about the stars at night out in the desert. “It’s so calming,” he said, among other things.
That struck me powerfully, that simple juxtaposition of “stars” and “calming.” It reminded me of the Milky Way I’d seen so many nights on my last sojourn, as John put it, “hanging down so low in the sky you could touch it.” He was right. The stars, the night sky, are calming.
You look up and at first only see twinkling, but as you look you notice it is a hotbed of activity. Things are moving up there at blinding speeds, Somehow it doesn’t make you anxious, it calms you down. There is profound reassurance in watching the whirling and twirling of things whose birthdays are measured in billions.
A lot of what we are invited to participate in, or rather be sucked into, isn’t calming at all. I mean the news, #socmed, the teevee, the Internets. For the most part those things, when you spend much time with them, raise disturbing questions, questions that you can’t ever really answer. Was Kobe’s death a conspiracy? Does Greta eat hamburger in secret? Is global warming caused by frogs?
There are other things that don’t calm you down much, either, like driving in traffic, or really, driving almost anywhere.
One thing that calms me down is buying groceries. I am not especially interested in food or in shopping, but without a car, and having the grocery stores either way above or way below, it means you have to carry it all on your back. In your pack. This can be kind of an ordeal since we have to do it every other day or so. But it’s like the ordeal of “How long is the universe going to last?” It’s not one of those questions that is disturbing, like “Who’s going to be the next miller of Trumpington?”
To the contrary, it’s oddly calming to ask, “How am I gonna get all this shit into my backpack?” It’s practical. Has a solution. Requires focus and attention. Makes you use your muscles.
Wherever your calm is, I’m wagering it’s not where “they” want you to think it is. Maybe it’s in a bike commute and some honest sweat.
Or maybe it’s in the stars.