December 22, 2016 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on December 21, 2017

There will be snow. Later this morning it will start. It’s going to mix with rain as the temperature, currently still cold and not just a bit uncomfortable, climbs. Wintry mix, they call it. But you could also call it messy. An atmospheric mirroring of the confusing and confounding forces that rule the earth, the deep recesses, even those which look stable and firm. It’s all changing, all the time. Contours and boundaries are broken, an intermingling is inevitable. The clear boundaries and outlines created by bright sunshine in a seemingly crystalline atmosphere untainted by admixtures that blur bodies and minds are illusory. Eventually it all changes to wintry mix or lava flows or tectonic shifts and subductions, mists and fog, growth and then decay.

We fight against it – as we should, I believe – making and seeking new contours and boundaries, refusing a return to undifferentiated matter. Our minds, we say, know better. But do they? What do we know? Do I know my children, my spouse, my parents, sisters, inlaws, nephews and nieces? I might know them as well as I “know” a tree in the forest. The only thing, it seems, that “allows” knowledge is the contour, the boundaries. And so we always try to push against them, or try to ascertain how and where others are pushing or bumping up against them. We are as much defined by what we define as exterior to ourselves as anything we might pull out of our “inner” selves to show the world. In the very act of showing, a new boundary or contour or definition arises, takes form. What am I showing you if I reveal some inner feeling of heartfeltness, of love? Agape. Maybe that’s what religions do? Try to define without defining, without “boundarizing”? Or maybe it’s that they try binding / bounding only to the ineffable, which is a contradiction, or course.

And yet, you could consider it all a game, which is probably the better strategy. Playing in this most serious of games is what individuals can do. Play for enjoyment, for winning, for contact. Play. Atmospheres don’t stay crystalline and pure, lives don’t last forever. Things get mixed up, our confusion is palpable. We sweat in anxiety or in lovemaking or in labor, our skin-as-boundary is as porous as any sky invaded by fog and rain and snow. The wintry mix finds us daily. We should celebrate it, too, I suppose. Happy Winter Solstice, merry be.

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