Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day Oops-I've-Fallen-Behind: First Light Edging Cirrus

Well, so, this is what happens when one sets goals like 'daily,' isn't it? Life has just been too busy - we've taken delivery of a new bed and have established tomorrow as the night for attempting to get it up the stairs (woe). And I've been going to hear music, because it's getting cold out, and when it's full on winter I know it'll be much harder to get myself to go out when there's a warm house waiting.

But enough of excuses. Maybe I won't manage daily, but I'll keep on nonetheless.

Today: First Light Edging Cirrus (Jane Hirshfield)

This is from a book that was a birthday gift this year, and having only looked at a poem or two I can already tell I'm going to like this author and find her challenging at the same time. I've always liked writing that spoke to the joy that I find in science and in understanding the universe in a measured way. Because to me science and math are beautiful, they reveal a deep truth about the world that's huge, bigger than anything else. To believe that the world is logical is to believe in something ultimate. But at the same time, there's a distinct gap between our current understanding of science and math, and what I think the ultimate truth is likely to be. We think on a concrete level, and the universe functions on something like a quantum level (by which I don't mean to limit to our current thinking about what 'quantum' means). I think that ultimately we don't know what it is to know, we don't understand what it is to understand. But I think those things are knowable.

 First Light Edging Cirrus seems to get at the gap between those things.

1025 molecules
are enough 
to call woodthrush or apple.

I think it's the "enough" that's the key word here, as if to say that there are some things which get defined by reason, by measurable functions. And then implicitly we are set up for the things for which reason is not enough, which "cannot be counted."

And of course love is one of those things, love is the thing. The thing which is not counted, which is inside each thing looking out to each thing. If you didn't know about sound waves, you'd think it was magic that strings move when someone near is speaking. So it is with us and the understanding of love. We think it is magic because we do not know what is in between us all that allows for waves of influence to pass between. But someday we might understand it. And I don't think that takes anything away from love. I don't think that makes it more romantic just for being mysterious.

I'm not sure that Hirshfield would agree. She might say there's always something unknowable, something for which reason is not enough. I wonder which of us is right.

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