While trying to upgrade my wiki software this morning I broke my setup. Normally, I wouldn’t consider that a problem — where I messed up was trying to do an upgrade 15 minutes before I needed to hop in my car to get to a wedding! I did what I have told others not to do: to give oneself plenty of time in doing software installations (since errors are bound to happen, especially at the most inconvenient times!)
Now I’m trying to fix my setup but am running into other problems. Please be patient with me. (Besides, I’m about to head out to another, very important engagement — so my wiki may be down for a while yet.)
On the white planes of my imagination grew tender shoots of grass. They were few in number but luxuriant in composition. You would expect them to be the type of grass that cows would heartily ruminate on. Not so our odd little cow. She had greater ambitions than to find her sustanance on the lowly plane/plain. The lunar sliver hung from the great ceiling, beckoning our friend to jump over the moon. Last time we saw her, she was standing on her hind legs, front legs in the air, head held up high. You might have thought her to be an oversized grasshopper, the way she was ready to spring forth. A grasshopper-cow, absurd on so many levels, was soon ecstatically in flight.
The falling sun set the city on fire
That enchanted night
And I wondered if flames came every night
Whether I saw or cared
Why shouldn’t such phenomena occur
That lived beyond my ken?
Indeed even the little I ought to know
Is actually out of my hand.
When I was around 10 years old, I concluded that key to understanding the world was physics, specifically theoretical mathematical physics. I don’t remember how I came to such a conclusion or exactly the arguments that buttressed such a view, but I was deeply affected by it. Albert Einstein was an early hero of mine. So was Dr. Who,
the BBC-based Time Lord who wandered not only the spatial but temporal
reaches of the cosmos. Both Einstein and Dr. Who were romantic figures
who mastered the essential nature of the world. I wanted to be like
them in their fame and in their fashion sense; Einstein’s unkept mane
and the long scarf of the 4th Dr. Who figured large in my imagination. Thus did fame and fashion become linked to physics and ultimately to my Ph.D. work in Berkeley.
I don’t know which is sadder: the row of unread books or the raft of unfilled binders sitting on my shelf.
Something I wrote on Saturday:
When I am sad, very sad, I often try to remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for as a way of making myself feel better. That practice often works so well that I feel selfish for treating thankfulness in such utilitarian terms. Shouldn’t I be thankful for its own sake? How difficult then is it then for me to cultivate the discipline of thankfulness when I am happy, deliriously happy? I get caught up in the sheer pleasure of happiness that I lose sight of who and what might have contributed to that happiness: God, my family, my friends, the dumb luck of having had many opportunities falling in my lap. I take for granted what might withstand a taken-for-grantedness for a while, even a long while, but that ultimately wilts away with time and neglect. Today, I am thankful that I can be thankful, even for a short moment on this gloriously beautiful Saturday Berkeley afternoon.