When is a piece perfect, and done? How do you know when it’s finished? Or what to take out?
Is it taking too long? Perhaps you’ve given yourself too much time.
The task, the ideas, the thoughts – a little pressure and deadline is a swell as much as a tide to bring them forward, help them rise to the surface.
For the last year, minus about four days, I set myself a deadline of posting here, something, every day.
Hold on to your Legos. Decades on, they may just solve your problem and delight in an unexpected scenario.
Hold on to your Journals. They may also solve your problems and delight.
Looking at the warehouse of housing supplies from the balcony, saran-wrapped magical building blocks nested within larger building blocks within buildings of self-replicating efficiency, after the potential self-reflexive horror of it all, then come the questions of wonder, of how we even does civilization encourage it all, turning raw materials over and over again into these ideas and markets and commercial ventures.
Backing away from the suburban and consumerist and observing as an alien scientist might — or just a weirdly speculative gazing — I saw this technological and industrialization was still just a different form of nature. Commerce was in nature, or perhaps more accurately, an expression of nature. It was just this thing that sprouted from the universe.
Even this structured idea of a depot, where the self-growing greeneries of nature were sometimes plotted and sprouted and herbicided before folded neatly into the corners, this too ultimately derived itself from nature as much as it helped to reinforce the home as the object placed against the elements and forces of nature.
The vista worked my brain over the vast sea of aisles, trying to reconcile the majesty — the sheer phenomenology — how all this amazing, functional crap sprouted forth from the fractals of the universe. Here. And in the next town ever.
I turned back around from the railing, and Savannah was still investigating the nature of blinds, conversing with the friendly employee aproned in orange, working the swing shift on an Easter Sunday.
At the trailhead — again.
I’d circled back after the first fork in the path.
No, I’d said to myself, don’t just trudge ahead guessing at the route to the overlook. From the clear plastic box at the bulletin board I pulled out a worn edged, folded copy of the trail map.
This had been used before, it said, in photocopied etchings and softening edges and creases. Used probably multiple times, in fact. Wasn’t the only copy, but it may as well have been, it said. Just enough copies for the hikers out there today, if they needed it.
I needed it.
I kept thinking about the map in my back pocket, unfurling it carefully with sweaty fingers at each new fork in the road. I’m not the first person on these trails, the map said. If it had been a clean copy of the map I wouldn’t have thought as much at all about it — but instead, I was determined to return it to its plastic box again, to pay the map forward even further, betting that it could guide someone else.
Its frailty helped define its purpose — to be used here, not taken back down in the car out of the parking lot. Make something more like this, to begin with, if you want it to be recycled more often. Something to borrow. Signal its virtue of impermanence.
There’s an old adage — okay, actually it’s not that old, to me at least — about offering help. To help someone or something else will ultimately help yourself, too, if you keep your eyes open. Not too eagerly. Not in charging credit against your karma. You approach the offer selflessly. And while maybe not right away, there will be a form of reciprocating.
In clearing out old shelves in the closet, in those deep recesses of the upper reaches of the attic, I excavated a few sheets of paper from a few decades earlier, sandwiched between my old binders. I read them with the fresh eyes of an archaeologist re-discovering his own past life.
Only vaguely could I remember this letter from a friend. But I remembered the period — mid-adolescence, early-high school, still-early-internet. When we were eager to learn about mysteries but the world hadn’t quite yet shifted to let everything fall through into microcosms of rehearsals of false beliefs.
I remembered the domain name I wrote down at the bottom of the sheet, like a second signature. Something prescient and important but surprisingly antiquated (the domain was defunct and for sale).
Records of the raining embers of the Lyrids begin over 2,700 years ago, first reported in Ancient China. Tonight, and into the dawn morning, they will peak once again as our earthly path encounters the orbital dust trail of the Thatcher Comet. With an orbital period of 415 years, the comet was only first seen in 1861.
What a gap between observation and the discovery of its cause.
The space probe Pioneer 10, launched in March of 1972, is headed now in its retirement toward Taurus — falling through the cosmos on a journey of thousands of years before it reaches the neighborhood of stars in this stubborn constellation.
Pioneer 10 carries a golden, intergalactic postcard with a return address to the Earth, designed by Carl Sagan. I like to imagine a Taurean consciousness attempting to translate the scientific symbols. What sign does Earth sit within from their perspective? Perhaps Scorpio, or perhaps something we can’t quite yet translate.
The return address is based on the nearest pulsars to Earth, a sign all its own: