Here’s the six o’clock news at the end of this day – thoughts while sitting by a fire for a while, looking out the window as snow and darkness fall.
About 14 billion years ago there was Nothing – then BANG! – Something.
Ten billion years ago, where I sit now was but a gathering place in space full of cosmic dust and possibility. Earth was not yet, but gravity called for roundness.
Ten million years ago, there was a great fire here – molecular collisions – volcanic upheavals – and lava flows.
Ten thousand years ago, the very place where I sit on this hillside was covered with more than five hundred feet of glacial ice and snow. The wolves in the valley below were bigger than bears. The local men’s club was out hunting mastodons during the day. They ate the mastodons raw until someone dropped a chunk into the fire.
One hundred years ago, a mix of horse manure, mud, garbage, and sewage in the streets of the little town nearby was blamed for an outbreak of influenza, which killed half the horses and a tenth of the children before Spring.
Nobody who lived then where I live now went into town that Winter.
There was no electricity or treated water then. No gasoline for cars. No cars.
No social security, health insurance, or workman’s compensation, either.
No television or cell phones. No phones.
Even square dancing was suspended until spring because the only fiddler broke his arm. A hard winter. But people lived on.
The fiddler recovered. The music and dancing resumed.
This past week there were no murders, fires, earthquakes, or floods within a hundred miles of where I sit.
No war or armed conflict.
And I do not have the current virus….
In town this past week quite a few refrigerator doors have mid-term report cards stuck on them with silly magnets. Most of the grades are as good as this time last year, though some did better and some worse. Some refrigerators bear photographs of smiling people with missing front teeth – mostly first and second graders. Usually, there is sports news from the local high school, but not this year – no games. But lots of optimistic talk of “just wait until next year.”
When I figure the percentages and possibilities against the population statistics of the town, it’s safe to make some assumptions:
About seventeen people fell in love this past week.
Eight fell out of love.
Eleven men and one woman are going to propose marriage on Valentine’s Day. There will be seven yeses, four maybes, and one “ask me again next year.”
Nine couples learned this week they had managed to get pregnant.
And those who managed that around the beginning of May last year are heavy with child to arrive in early Spring….