Call it cosmic timing.
The events of yesterday happened on The Feast Day of the Epiphany, celebrating the 3 wise men giving gifts to the human manifestation of God. When you think about it, these were nobodies, in a stable. Soon after Mary, Jesus, and Joseph had to run for their lives in Egypt as a mad king slaughtered babies due to his own insecurities about power. Sounds familiar?
We all talk about ‘having an epiphany’ about something we finally realize, much like the wise men realizing something extraordinary happened. Merriam Webster said it this way
3a(1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something(2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking(3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b: a revealing scene or moment‘Epiphany,’ Merriam-Webster Definition
There are big epiphanies and personal ones. While I look calm on the outside, trying to work from home, more and more the stress of dealing with everything takes an impact on my brain. I nearly wrote an email about something not in an online record, only to discover it was in front of me the whole time. Tiny print, yes, usually I can take things in and see the whole. On Tuesday, as my LibChat shift received a barrage of requests, it felt like blinders were put on, the computer screen looking far away despite having a large monitor. I had tunnelled or what some would call having ‘tunnel vision.’ It’s one thing to read about, another to experience it. Stress doesn’t help but neither does not having enough water. (Coffee is made with water but not water, of course.)
Instead of grand resolutions, I start with simply things like drinking more water. I went for walks near my home or with friends, masked, and spaced apart. I also made sure to get a coat and head someone after work like the grocery store or an impromptu trip for some stargazing.
Having a car feels like a pain the ass until things like heading down a dark road within driving distance makes the thing prove useful. I needed to pull my car over and look up away from the city lights. Looking up, I saw more stars then in most suburbs. I needed to go further to see the Milky Way, something I only saw one near Vivian, Manitoba until the home’s security outdoor security lights blocked everything. In the quiet, without the bone-chilling cold associated with January, the stars did what they always did, twinkled.
I pulled out my phone to use the constellation app after recognizing Orion, a constellation I once could see from my bedroom window before dad installed an awning. The belt was the give away but nearby clusters a small group. The Pleiades? Checking later I learned yes, it was that particular cluster.
I drove far enough south to see an old friend, Orion. While based in Greek myth, not needing a spoiler alert because those end in tragedy, it turns out many cultures have a tale about this constellation. Using my smartphone in night mode, I did try to take a picture and edit it myself.
While I had no sign to guide, that happened under a cloudy sky on the Winter Solstice of all times, looking up meant not feeling tied down by the chaos of planet earth. Between session prep for Warm Up Week at the college, getting back into work mode, and getting a handle upcoming projects to finish, taking a peep to find out if Jon Ossoff won in the Georgia run off only to find a coup taking place in the capitol left me stunned.
The mob strutted, ransacked, wandered unmolested by police like a pack of animals. The same people calling groups ‘savages’ and ‘barbarians’ revelled in their privilege. The creme de la dumb awaiting arrest, if that happens, perhaps after an intensive search, again, if that happens. While having multiple chat windows open to find a solution to a WebEx access problem, one thought chanted in my head: I need to get out for a drive and pick up some groceries while I am at it. So, I drove and found a spot to look up.
To look up is to leave this earth for a little while, to take a breath before getting back down to earth and into my car. It’s realizing 2020 has gone but its residue remained and we have bigots too in Canada, in my own province, and one wanting to run the provincial Progressive (ha!) Conservative Party named Candice Bergen. (As someone who loved Murphy Brown, and the actress who played her, this hurts.) In the end, someone will have an epiphany Canada has its own racist history. I have two as someone of Portuguese descent and its own history in Africa.
I find myself wanting to go back out on a clear night, down the same road, maybe going a little farther to finally catch a glimpse of the Milky Way. I loved astronomy as a kid and now want to dive into it again. Galileo somehow kept his faith while the church hounded him for heresy for daring to put the sun at the centre. Well, not daring, he did study things carefully and the church lost a great opportunity to spin it. (Sun=Son get it?) Seeing those stars reminded me to keep a sense of wonder after spending time at the cemetery grasping living a life rather than surviving. It’s the latest in the long line of epiphanies ready to point the way to action.