Monday, October 08, 2007

WI: Renewal


My grandson Simon is six-years-old. He recently lost a loose front tooth, and if you look carefully, you can see the new tooth emerging to take the lost tooth's place. The body has a remarkable ability to defend and repair itself, it even has a magical ability to renew, in that, at a cellular lever, we are constantly dying and being reborn. Heraclitus is supposed to have said that one can never step into the same river twice, and this is because the water is constantly being restored by new water rushing in. And this is true of the body. Deepak Chopra tells us that 98% of atoms in our body at the moment were not there a year ago. "The skeleton that seems so solid was not there three months ago," he writes. "The skin is new every month. You have a new stomach lining every four days....It is as if you lived in a building whose bricks were systematically taken out and replaced. If you keep the same blueprint, then it will look like the same building. But it won't be the same...." Eventually, entropy takes over.

Physicists use the phrase "The Arrow of Time" to explain the fact that events in time can only move forward, and can't be reversed. When a glass shatters on the floor, says Stephen Hawking, it can't pick up its pieces and rebuild itself into a whole glass. There are some things that cannot be fixed. "Not for all our piety, nor wit, nor tears." All in all, I think simply being alive is a miraculous achievement. When I woke this morning, I thought of the tremendous change in my life once the powerful catalytic agent CANCER was introduced. I've come to feel a certain indifference to the few dark horrors that my mind occasionally offers up. Things go on. No one on earth can give me a signed and notarized certificate saying that I still haven't got this damned disease. But I can adapt. Every change requires some re-ordering to accommodate it. And I find a certain tenacious peace-of-mind in prayer--not as a greedy child whining to an indulgent parent, nor as a beggar, but as a sort of opening up of cosmic pathways into my mind.

A note I discover among some old papers: Adversity helps men to rise above themselves. Is that true? I think so.

Doctor Lewis Thomas writes in The Lives of a Cell: Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existence would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely out-numbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places...Each of us is a self-contained, free-standing individual, labeled by specific protein configurations at the surface of cells, identifiable by whorls of fingertip skin, maybe even by special medleys of fragrance. You'd think we'd never stop dancing.


(Most of this was written years ago, taken out of my book CHRYSALIS. And I am still here to tell the tale. The book ends like this: So, this is a portrait of a birth. The butterfly is finally emerging. The book is finished, and I am painfully anxious that it be good. I stayed up until two or three in the morning for weeks trying to finish the final draft. Now I need to move on to something else. Maybe I'll just think in iambic pentameter for awhile. Maybe I'll write another book, a children's book this time.

I am full. Let me stay like this forever, lullabied by family, by friends, by an unrolling of irrevocable love and intoxicant life. I hold it as carefully as mortal fingers will allow. Thanks. Everything is as it should be, and nothing will change, not ever, I tell myself. Encircled by sleepy children, Mark sings:

And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.


*

31 comments:

paisley said...

on the island all you have to do is cut and past the permalink for the single post... you don't have to know how to link with the correct html... now i have to go read your entry.....

paisley said...

wow.. this was epic.. i mean really you covered more ground here than i have in the past six month on all of my blogs combined... this was amazing... thank you so much for this window into your world.......

Herb Urban said...

Remarkably rich and compelling post. I don't think one or two readings will suffice.

Marja said...

I learned a lot from this. Very interesting and intriguing

pepektheassassin said...

Wow, what fast responses! Thank you. I'm impressed. But why are we all up so late, anyway?



paisley...cut and paste the permalink, geez, it might as well be Greek. My kid tried to teach me this, but he gets impatient when I can't remember it from one time to the next.

But I have written it down...somewhere. I just need to find my little green notebook....

danae sinclair said...

its the middle of the afternoon here in australia... loved this post - as paisley says it covers a lot..

the alchemist believe in the body's ability to regenerate according to the original 'blue print' - something called a 'primum ens' is a catalyst for the body's memory of itself. Legend has it Goethe and other alchemists used it to become immortal. Fascinating!

Jo said...

This is so very, very good. And your penultimate paragraph

I am full. Let me stay like this forever, lullabied by family, by friends, by an unrolling of irrevocable love and intoxicant life. I hold it as carefully as mortal fingers will allow.

is utterly beautiful; it is life.

Rose Dewy Knickers said...

(((((Hugs))))

Been a long time some since I renewed my reading here. Thanks for the reminder to dance.

Rose

xo

gautami tripathy said...

One great post. Makes me think. Will come and read again.

pepektheassassin said...

danae, I have not heard of the 'primum ens' before. That is a fascinating concept. (Even though it didn't work for Goethe et al).

jo, thanks. I appreciate life more than I used to. It's all good!

rose, welcome back! It has been a while.

gautami, come back any time -- love to have you!

Beloved Dreamer said...

God but you give me hope... What wonderful images you bring to mind. This is lovely-wish I could make it so.Bravo....

love-Melanie-bd

pepektheassassin said...

bd, believe me, it IS so. We are all untimately creatures made of the same elements that comprise LIGHT--which, as quantum physics tells us, exists as both particle and wave, or as matter and spirit. Right? We, both body and spirit, are made of the same light that lights the universe. My religion teaches me this. And for this intent were we created, and for this intent are we sanctified.

This applies to the "worlds without number" that God has created, to us, to every tree and blade of grass, elephant, cat, and dinosaur.

:)

pepektheassassin said...

Even if your outsides can't dance, your insides can!

tumblewords said...

This is indeed a remarkable post in its width and depth. What we have is all we have. I'll re-read to make sure I haven't missed a word.

Jan said...

Such a wonderful, and uplifting post...thank you! :)

...deb said...

This is the kind of writing that I print and put in a safe, non-electronic place to refer to or to pass along, when difficulties arise.

I love your essay.

I love the intertwining of physics and Heraclitus. I love the physical set in the world and the marvel of it.

ren.kat said...

I am so glad I made time today to get here. Thank you. (Haven't thought of Lives of a Cell in years!)

Lea said...

Beautiful and wise and full of enjoying life. I can see it in the way your grandson looks at you... Your words are precious. I am so glad you are here... Thank you.

Mary Timme said...

It is good to be of both, and to feel peaceful with both. I can't wait for when Time isn't a dimension that hinders me.

Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

This is a remarkable, and highly intelligent view.
I am in awe.
No words.
To praise this work would be almost insulting, it is far too good. This will stand the test of time, and serve as a lesson to us all.
I think I'll start dancing now...
xo
Blue

Clare said...

Your words really touched me. I'm reading this as the rain is falling outside and my spirit is immersed in wonder. I love what you wrote. How cool about "a sort of opening up of cosmic pathways into my mind"! And I love how you say "you think we'd never stop dancing" -- this is so true and life is such an amazing phenomena. Thank you so much for this wonderful post!!!!
:)

Pam said...

I read this post and felt it reach into my core. I was fascinated by the facts of it and touched by its spirit. And even though my feet don't move, I'm still dancing.

wendy said...

The days I feel sad, I think I know its because I have forgotten to dance.

How beautiful this post was.

Love you tremendously.

kimberley said...

Your post brought tears - can I print this out to put in my journal.

I can't physically dance right now (but could be soon if all goes well!)but I feel the dance going on inside me.

My post for Writer's Island has a passwork -- it's chiron.

pepektheassassin said...

Tumblewords-- maybe what we have is incredibly more than we think we have!

jan, good to hear from you again. Thank you.

...deb, you're right, I should make copies. I am making hard copies of my jelly blog, and Plodding Taurus. Most of this post is already published in book form. My kids all have a copy, and I've saved copies for grandchildren.

ren-- Lewis Thomas is the bomb--although when he wrote "Lives" the population of the world was 3 billion. More than that now!

mary, I read somewhere that Time is unmeasured except on the planet Earth (at least, as far as we know. Who is measuring on Saturn, or Neptune?)

gillian, thank you so much. Are you still dancing? (Remember the story of the Red Shoes?)

clare-- prayer is an awesome thing!

Hi, ren! I know you know how to dance. Moving feet are not a requirement for the true Art of Dance.

wendy, I am truly sorry you are sad. Ask pam at mind trips to refresh your memory. You'll feel better!

kimberly-- my ears are still ringing! (Really.) Good luck to you, and thanks for stopping by.

And thanks, everybody, for your company!

pepektheassassin said...

pam, the comment just before my advice to wendy was for you. Just a slip of the fingers.

pepektheassassin said...

Tumblewords-- maybe what we have is incredibly more than we think we have!

jan, good to hear from you again. Thank you.

...deb, you're right, I should make copies. I am making hard copies of my jelly blog, and Plodding Taurus. Most of this post is already published in book form. My kids all have a copy, and I've saved copies for grandchildren.

ren-- Lewis Thomas is the bomb--although when he wrote "Lives" the population of the world was 3 billion. More than that now!

mary, I read somewhere that Time is unmeasured except on the planet Earth (at least, as far as we know. Who is measuring on Saturn, or Neptune?)

gillian, thank you so much. Are you still dancing? (Remember the story of the Red Shoes?)

clare-- prayer is an awesome thing!

Hi, ren! I know you know how to dance. Moving feet are not a requirement for the true Art of Dance.

wendy, I am truly sorry you are sad. Ask pam at mind trips to refresh your memory. You'll feel better!

kimberly-- my ears are still ringing! (Really.) Good luck to you, and thanks for stopping by.

And thanks, everybody, for your company!

pepektheassassin said...

Why did this print TWICE???? OH, well, now you are twice blest.

pepektheassassin said...

Why did this print TWICE???? OH, well, now you are twice blest.

UL said...

That was touching, I am lost for words - it was amazing. Thanks for sharing.

chiefbiscuit said...

Perfection on a page.
Just lovely Pepek.