The Equine Ox is upon us — that day when light and dark exist in equal measures, sort of like some folks think about humans.
There is light in us and traces of a darkness beyond understanding, but just as light grows gradually day by day in the dead of winter, the forces that lead us to light can never be full extinguished.
This week I got my first new pair of glasses in many a day — has it been as many as five years? All I know is I’ve needed stronger glasses for many a month. Reading has been more of a challenge lately, especially the fine print, and it’s a relief to see the page clearly again.
It wasn’t as dramatic a change as the day in Hobby Lobby, three days after I got my first pair of glasses at age 47. The eye doctor had perceived my eyes had never quite worked together, my 20/10 eye doing most of the work while my weaker eye came along for the ride. At first everything looked wobbly and askew as my eyes fought the new glasses, until that day in the store when my brain said to my eyes, “Oh! You’re trying to see in three dimensions, why didn’t you say so?” And suddenly I perceived the depth of the aisles, unfolding like an accordion, as the little prism Dr. Pease ordered finally connected my eyes as intended.
I saw that the Viewmasters and 3-D movies didn’t look weirdly artificial as I always had assumed; no, they were cleverly converting two-dimensional pictures into a semblance of real life. And I was in awe of the technology that convinced my lazy eyes to work with each other at last.
Imagine that time hundreds of years ago when eyeglasses were high tech.
Everything humanity has created was high tech when it was first invented, wasn’t it? A device to sit on that’s more comfortable than sitting on the ground or a rock or a tree stump? A chair that’s soft and bears your weight comfortably? A piece of artwork that looks like a real dog? A device to measure time that you can drop in your pocket or strap to your wrist? A manmade cave made of branches, made of stone, made of boards, sealed from the elements outside?
All things crafted by humans had their moment in the sun when it was the new thing, the high-tech creation. My journal is what, 13th century high tech? Paper gathered into pages with a human meticulously writing words down one at a time, before Mr. Gutenberg came along.
My earworm this morning is more than 100 years old. I spent an afternoon listening to 78 rpm records for my next podcast, and “I Think I’ll Get Wed in the Summer” by Harry Lauder keeps bouncing between my ears. That pristine 1920 record is one of my most precious possessions. I was introduced to Lauder when I heard “A Wee Deoch ’n Doris” on the RCA Victor “60 Years of Music America Loves Best” promotional album that my parents bought when we were kids — and holy cow, it’s more than 60 years since that album came out now, isn’t it?
The Superman 25th anniversary annual was impressive with its callback to the primitive artwork from such a long time ago, 25 whole years. Now we’ve lived through the 25th anniversary of the 25th anniversary — twice!
Numbers and words and pictures from days gone by — all the words and every picture a moment in time captured for all time, each telling a story if we’re willing to see it: This moment was precious enough to the person with the camera that they preserved it. The words were important enough, to someone, to write down for the person or for posterity to find — the person to say, “Oh yes, I remember that day,” and posterity to say, “Look what was important to this person (or these people) in those days — how quaint” or “how revealing” or “how interesting” but please not “how boring.”
Oh, the memories are surely boring to those who have no interest in the past — but surely it makes a difference how we got here, so we can retrace our steps if we must, go back and retrieve something important and then bring it back to apply it or revive it or simply honor its memory and its contribution. Each nugget of the past is a brick in the road that brought us — travelers on the way — to where we are today. This is not our destination or even a stopping point or a way station, but it is a place along the path, and every place along the path is a home to someone.
Up the hill, people are whizzing past my place at 70 mph and barely giving it a thought, but it is a place where people and beasts have lived, loved and died, a sacred place like billions of other sacred places around this globe that we call homes. Every bit of land, and every relic kept or left behind, all of it means something. Every creation was created for a reason and with a purpose, every acquisition was acquired for a reason and with a purpose. Find the meaning and rediscover the purpose, and you are closer to understanding.
See what wonders can be uncovered if I just sit down for a while and ponder an Equine Ox.