Friday, December 5, 2014

The Whole Night Through

It's nearly fifty times as distant, but it looked so close last night, closer than you are now, looking at the same moon - if you're up at midnight, that is, and the skies are clear in Oregon, in the Midwest, in Maine. Vous êtes beaucoup plus proche, mes amis en France, mais encore trop loin. There are some old friends to visit in the months ahead (des anciens amis, et non l'inverse, Bea, Sebastien, Florence [et peut-être Eric?]), and first cousins twice removed; new friends to make of people I've never met, in places where I've never been. It will be good to be staying with people again, for a while. I think I've been alone too long in these housesits, with only the dogs and cats to talk to. Sometimes I don't even talk to them, and when I do say something out loud, it startles me a bit. There are so many words that I need to squeeze out of my fingers each day that I forget how to make the words come out of my mouth instead.

Georgina and Chris come back in four days, and a week later I'll leave for London. It will be nice to be in the city for Christmas, and I plan on doing a little sightseeing to look at lights and decorations, and maybe go back to the British Museum to get through more of the rooms, or try to fight the lines at the Natural History museum and do more musing on the amazing fact of this existence, a tiny spark in the unimaginable span of space and time that surrounds me. It's so inspiring that we're still trying to get off this planet to explore the vastness, that machines are communicating with us from so far away I can't even wrap my head around the numbers. And it's so depressing that there are people who are being pushed off this planet daily by their fellow human beings who are acting out of fear, cruelty, ignorance, hatred, spite, and racism. I read a short story once, though I don't remember who wrote it - Harlan Ellison is the name that comes to mind, but it could have been anyone; I read a lot when I was in my teens. It was about a young man who could destroy metal just by thinking about it, I think? Or being near it, perhaps. I believe he was a soldier who decided that there should be no more killing, and he crumbles all of the weapons on the army base before telling his commanding officer that he's leaving. When the soldier walks out of the door, the officer looks in his desk drawer for his gun, but when all he sees is a pile of dust, he smashes his chair (if I remember correctly) to make a club, and chases after the soldier to kill him. I wish I could turn weapons into dust. I wish there weren't so many people who would immediately smash their chairs.

We are so small.

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