Sunday, August 18, 2013

As Through a Needle

As I brought Brigitte the massive sheaves that constitute the Sunday New York Times, she eyed me for a moment and then said: “Do you have something white? And 8 and a half by 11?” In other seasons, very often, I bring her whatever blog posts I have written. Not of late. I got to pondering the dearth of entries in the wake of this exchange and eventually came up with a generalization that fits it. The broadest of these generalizations comes from astrophysics. It is a wormhole, a hypothetical topological feature (quoting Wikipedia) that links two regions of spacetime.

I’ve spent most of my time this summer in the world of nature, that is to say our “garden,” front and back. A new lawn in front has needed lots of worry and care; in the back we have what the Times recently called an embarrassment of tomatoes—never mind the perennial magnificence of our mint bush—which yesterday attracted, and for some hours held, no fewer than five members of the Cabbage White butterfly. And never mind the newest arrival, our flowering milkweed. And much else, including a rearrangement of our furniture to give the plants more sun. The more you look, the bigger any world becomes until one’s lost in its this-worldly infinities.

The world of blogging is, in its more humble way, also incredibly vast. If you’re in the one, you’re not in the other. But what connects the two is, like, a wormhole. Therefore to go from contemplating the exact redness of our earliest big tomatoes—or the first and altogether premature red leaves appearing on our Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)—one has to make a passage through a very narrow place, and entering that needle is not something gladly done.

Years ago, while I was still working, I arrived home after a vacation and what with deadline pressures much intensified, I had to plunge back into the worlds of code and indices and publication credits and such. I recalled that time as today I contemplated Brigitte’s inquiry about something white and 8-1/2 by 11. Back then I had said to her. “Getting back to work is like passing through a hypodermic, dear. It seems impossible. But when you finally make the passage, you discover that the other side is just as big as this one.”

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to hear that, as I suspected, you are thoroughly enjoying the joys of outdoor living this summer! Your description of the transit from one world to another, well, that's a classic for me.

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