It seems, what, inappropriate to enter a room and talk of anything inconsequential during these days of such consequence. So much of the events of our current days are being deemed unprecedented. But, what of the act of living, the fact of being is precedented? Just as each hexagonal snowflake is different from each other hexagonal snowflake, each moment we live and breathe and think and talk and hope and be is like no other. It can’t be helped. And thank God. There are so many moments that should not be spent again.
Unlike snowflakes, though, our moments, our selves, are sentient, and we can learn and we can teach, and we can understand, and we can try to understand, and we can help to understand, and we can shape-change, of our own volition, not just because, like for snowflakes, of temperature or touchdown. Perhaps because of touch, because by being we are touching others — physically, emotionally, intellectually, sensibly and insensibly, sensitively and insensitively, wisely and unwisely, honestly and dishonestly…. Never think you don’t matter. You do. But also, never think you don’t have impact. You do. We are each responsible for our acts, and for our responses–their tone, their direction, their intensity, their intent. You can hurt me, but I am not yours. I can hurt you, but you are not mine. Ever.
Shift in gears.
Yesterday I took a long walk, passing along the shores of two rivers that bisect this city, and intersect with each other within this city’s limits. The Concord River flows north into the south and east flowing Merrimack River here. Along the Concord River, which is of a higher water level than it was a couple of months ago, but still low, I saw no birds, not even a stray mallard. Along the Merrimack River I saw a community of mallards! I also saw a glaucous gull (one of the definitions of glaucous is “of a light bluish-grey or bluish-white color”. I find it an unpleasant word to fit my tongue around, and wonder at its choice, its origins*), which, I was told by a birder who was photographing as I passed, is uncommon here. And I saw a community of common golden-eyed ducks-males sharply black and white, females sharply deep brown and white. Both with golden eyes, and quite attractive. They winter here, and summer further north.
Unlike mallards, the golden-eyed dive underwater as they fish for food. The mallards only “dabble” — they stick their faces in the water, and their butts glow above.
*Glaucous came to English—by way of Latin glaucus—from Greek glaukos, meaning “gleaming” or “gray,” and has been used to describe a range of pale colors from a yellow-green to a bluish-gray. The word is often found in horticultural writing describing the pale color of the leaves of various plants as well as the powdery bloom that can be found on some fruits and leaves. The stem glauc- appears in some other English words, the most familiar of which is glaucoma, referring to a disease of the eye that can result in gradual loss of vision. So here it is defined, but it still tastes unpleasant to me to say. This leads to another subject, which I venture to sometimes but will not pursue today, why languages range so widely in their component sounds and in their incidence of sibilance and of clicking or tapping when spoken. And why some languages pile on the consonants, and some roll out the vowels. Ponder if you wish.
A final brief entry. The other day I was walking in the neighborhood and was stopped by this waltzing pair. In my mind I alliterate and call them waltzing willows. But must acknowledge that accuracy requires me to let you know that they are maples. Nevertheless, they are dancing, don’t you think?
May you find promise where you look, and fulfillment where you are.