Friday, July 21, 2006

That's How The Light Gets In

I'm not very political, nor am I usually very logical or sensible. Sometimes I become entranced by a single word or four notes of a song or the bottom left of a painting or that same painting as seen from various angles. Sometimes, a poem will obsess me until I see its meaning in everything around me. Someone's tone of voice can haunt me. An inconsequential piece of a movie soundtrack, representing not much more than white noise, will grab hold of me and I hear it wherever I go. I fall in love with characters in books. I have no desire to 'understand' mathematics, except in that I see it all around me in the geometry of structures both natural and man-made. My standards for public behavior are high, so high that sometimes I am unable to appreciate or enjoy something because of a stranger's lack of etiquette. I am personally graceless, but I see a dance in the movements of almost everything else. Sometimes I am so lost in imagination that when I am jerked back to reality, my heart cracks a little.

But then, my heart is full of cracks. After "a certain age" a heart is supposed to be full of cracks. Leonard Cohen said it like this:

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

I would suppose that a heart that isn't cracked and seamed and mended is a heart that's never been used much. It's better to break your heart than do nothing with it.

Tonight I am obsessed with science and mysticism. Madeleine L'Engle writes that most scientists are in one way or another, mystics. The modern mystics. People think of scientists as logical and unimaginative, if not the stereotypical 'absent-minded.' I suppose some of them are. I've met all kinds of people who have no imagination and who are logical to the point of absurdity. But unlike many of the teachers I've known and worked with for many years people who live this bland-yet-chosen life, I think scientists are different. The good ones, that is. I think the good scientists not only have a streak of mysticism, but a goodly streak of poetry in them, as well.

Look at the names they give some of their discoveries. Almost everything in the night sky is named for ancient mythological beings with fantastic storylines and descriptions, even the recent discoveries. (Shame on the guy who insisted on using Shakespearian names for his discoveries; what a party-pooper!) (But at least Shakespeare is still pretty creative.) And how about those things we can't even see, things that are proven to exist but which CAN NOT BE SEEN?

Have I mentioned that quantum physics fascinates me? So much fodder for the imagination!

Degenerate white dwarfs! Red giants sitting on horizontal branches! Did the Brothers Grimm study science?

And tachyons. . . .

Particles that are faster than the speed of light? Particles that can be measured only in terms of their beginning and their end but not the middle, the journey part?

Scientists are not sure about tachyons, but I have suspended my disbelief momentarily and I think I believe in them.

Besides, it's a good analogy for all of our lives. The beginning is known and well-marked. The end is known and well-marked. It's the middle that we are not always sure of, that we can't always remember, that we mark only partially. We can measure the middle only at the end. And it is the middle that is the important part.

The journey, not the destination. The sides of the mountain, not the top.

It is in the middle that our hearts experience things that make them crack and break, and eventually mend.

That's how the light gets in.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:33 PM | |


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