At least hard to me! I'm busy reading an Economist account of a new book about the Romanovs and as is usual they have used three words that I had to look up because they were unfamiliar to me. The Economist writers are very pushy about words and I try not to succumb. Some of the writers don't use an easy word when a hard word will do. I often don't bother to look up these sort of words: A) because if I used them in conversation people who know me would think I was having a problem and B) I'm almost 82 so I don't think I really need them. On the other hand I did look them up today and they are interesting and what is more almost self-revelatory if you think about it. I could have skimmed them by as I usually do. First: Effulgent meaning shining or radiant, used here as "effulgent majesty". Second: Lubricious meaning slippery or sexual, here as in "startlingly lubricious and gory". Thirdly: Entrepot meaning a commercial port city, used here as in an "entrepot of power." On the other hand again, what is wrong with knowing something for its own sake, where there is little or no advantage for doing so, no money to be made, no one to impress, no one to initiate envy in, just a Google away from my private moment? I am going to make it a habit I think to read the Economist in front of the screen and learn hard words for no good reason. It's OK to succumb if you choose to do it. Choice means you have continued to maintain self control over the pushy.
The Fertile Mind
Harvesting the soil over time without adding to it ends with depleting the fertility, leaving it without muscle or synapse. Soil, like the mind, needs regular feeding to reproduce the fertility it was blessed with. Good compost may be likened to the fully digested product of past material experience. With water, air, heat and those harvested materials from the past, a fungal, bacterial enzymatic biomass is created which will raise the past into the fertile dust of renewal. The renewal takes time, heat, the right enzymes, destruction of pathological bacteria, the turning over of the compost, aeration, watering ,catalytic admixture and earth worms which will tell you that you are on the right track. Is the remediation of the infertile mind the same and as simple as the compost pile? Maybe not, but I have to give it a shot, at least as hard as I worked at the compost bin. It seems to me it as as important as the tackling of the dirt. Then you can trust that the ruminant harvests you have brought up from your past will be re-digested with care and with luck your muscle, muse, synapses and mental fertility have a chance. We aren't that different from the compost. But both of us are special. We both came from dirt and to dirt we shall return.
This, of course, is the beginning of the 40 days of Lent, a Christian application said to reflect the 40 days in the wilderness Jesus spent dealing with the temptations offered by Satan. There is an ominous reference in the description of Luke to the successful conclusion of the forty days by Jesus when Luke observes, " ---he (Satan) parted from him until an opportune time." An opportune time! It's easier to get hammered at an opportune time, even if you expect it, and you are brave enough to prepare for it. I was always chuffed by those who stuck their neck out and stuck by their principles at personal cost. We have to look in the mirror with some degree of sanity at some time. If an agent of evil like Judas Iscariot appeared at the opportune time it was too late and too feeble. As Paul said, " Death is swallowed up in victory." It seems three years was enough.
So space has substance!
And space is curved because of gravity produced by bodies within it
So because of gravity it causes straight to be round; and the waves are round
Two black holes coalesced 1.3 billion years ago and the resultant smash made waves in the substance
The waves made the laser beams blink last week in sequence since the beams were far enough apart
We heard the swoosh and knew the waves were round
So once, we could see space-time as well as objects
Now we can measure and hear space-time as well as see it
Newton and Einstein not withstanding; what about Henry Vaughn?
Not the what it is, but the why it is
I saw eternity the other night
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
All calm as it was bright
And round beneath it, Time, in hours,days,years
Driven by the spheres,
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurled.
___This ring the bridegroom did, for none provide,
But for his bride.
If one is accused of an elegiac obsessive writing I suppose being almost 82 is an excuse, but Carl Sandburg couldn't use that as an excuse. A great American poet that Robert has quoted before, from his Chicago poem, Limited. It is the ultimate Ash Wednesday poem though I bet Sandburg never considered it so. I don't feel guilty about stealing Robert's thoughts since he still is my kid. Joan and I went yesterday and received our ashes. The ashes and the poem are worth forty days. You'll have to have your own ashes to last forty days but I can remind you about Carl Sandburg's poem to help you through your own shortcomings.
I am riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
of the nation.
Hurtling across the prairie into the blue haze and dark air
go fifteen all steel coaches holding a thousand people.
(All the coaches shall be scrap and rust and all the men and
women laughing in the diners and sleepers shall
pass to ashes.)
I ask a man in the smoker where he is going and he