Thursday, January 10, 2013

The sun, black holes and such

It has rained for two days straight. The sun finally came out today. Any length of time spent indoors, with it raining outside, sends me right back to my seasonal affective disorder days in Alaska. This is not a good thing. It's a little like PTSD. Only I didn't get shot at or anything. But it is why we left Alaska.

So the sun came out and I took a walk with Yellow Dog, who pulled and pulled on the leash because she hadn't been on a walk in two days. We almost walked right into an accident that looked as if it had just happened. A dog was under a car, not quite pinned by the tire. Another car was stopped and the two drivers were talking and looking distressed. The dog was dying. I guess he'd just been hit. Yellow Dog and I changed course and walked further rather than turn where I'd planned. I cried as I walked. Sent a prayer out for all involved, but especially hoped the dog would be spared any further pain. Yellow Dog romped and played in the park, swimming  in the full creek, and on the way back to the house we saw another dog owner with a cute little chocolate lab puppy biting on her leash. I felt better.

This week included the birthday (January 8th) of physicist Stephen Hawking and I read a quote of his in my daily email from The Writer's Almanac. (I love this program with Garrison Keillor and highly recommend it.) Expecting something profound from this guy who has written A Brief History of Time and figured out black holes and such, I was shocked and immensely pleased to read this:

Asked in a recent interview what he thinks about most in a day, Hawking responded:
"Women. They are a complete mystery."

This made my day. Hell, it made my week. Here's this man who has spent his life pursuing a "Theory of Everything" - (that's right. EVERYTHING), and what does he think about most in a day? Women.

Wow. It made me feel more normal. It made me think of Aquaman as more normal. It made me feel connected to all the men and women out there who are just stumbling through this life, trying to love each other and be loved.

And it made me think, once again, about Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

This amazing little book and the man who wrote it have popped up in media again recently because the new year always brings new year's resolutions and book recommendations from the previous year, which inevitably brings links to the best books of all time. This one always makes the list. I read it and agree. And I take comfort in this small quote from his work:

A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how."

This just gets me. In particular, this: "...a human being who affectionately waits for him..." Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Only I'd say, "another living thing who affectionately waits for him" since I think a dog or other animal certainly fills this role for people in plenty of circumstances. 

The thing is, I think that's what we all want - someone waiting for us. Knowing that they will wait for us. Knowing that they want to wait for us. That's what makes life a bit easier. Gives us some purpose. Makes us not obsess over the millions of small things that can derail you forever, but instead focus on what matters. Some living thing waiting for you affectionately matters. And that means you matter.   

So I try to focus on the sun. And stay away from the black holes.

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