Saturday, February 4, 2012


Spring busts in through a crack in the February cold, and its warm and delightful and makes you happy to swim in it, as it feels like swimming, in the thickness and warmth of it. Absence makes the heart, and skin, grow fonder, and I personally have no great affection for beaches and just being in the sun, day after day, but I wouldn't want to miss out on a day like today.

Of course, I mostly worked, I organized my shop, and sawed up branches, and talked to Sylvia, my neighbor, who is conniving a way to use an abandoned yard waste recycling bin so we both can use it for free, and then my friend Brian came down to help me haul away what ended up to be 1998 pounds of moldy fir paneling and roofing, and it felt pretty good. We had a burger at the local biker hangout and watched the bikers, and then hauled everything over to Kirkland.

He shared with me a secret about himself, which i find sort of fascinating, partly, as i had no idea, and partly because i have known him for 40 years and its the first I've heard of it. He says he has this uncanny ability to predict how long something will take to do. So, although its a long drive to where we are going, and there are lots of variables, he knows exactly when to stop working, so that we get there on time. As we work, he says "20 minutes!", that sort of thing, and I respect someone yelling this out, so I do try to make it happen, but have to struggle with some straps to tie off the load. I figure, well, there's no way we're going to make it, and he says, yes we will. In fact, we do, dead on. I say, you're like a Garmin, you must have the same chip in you.

He says its deeper than that. He can kick a soccer ball, or see one kicked, and as it leaves his toe, or another's, he will know exactly where it will land. Somehow he processes the power of the kick, the direction, all of that, and it works out. He credits this for his ability to play soccer so well. He's there when the ball comes down, or he knows when a goalie is too far away from the goal to stop his kick.

Not a guy to toot his own horn, so I totally believe this.

It reminds me of a book i read a long time ago and had forgotten about. The ability to know and predict a trajectory, and to see with foresight things that haven't happened yet, are the reason ((I have read), that us mammals made it, and why the dinosaurs ended up with feathers, or as chickens, laying eggs again and again, which we eat, and they seem okay with.

This idea is in one of my favorite why-are-we-what-we-are books called "Synapsida". We descended, i would guess you know ( if you agree we are older then 4,650 years old)  from nocturnal rat like animals, trying to get by. At night.

At night, because during the day, chicken ancestors prowled the earth, looking for rats.

So, at night, you hear a sound, and it is critical that you know where that sound is going to be in a few more seconds, as you can't see it. It might be something to eat, like a bug, or, it might be something that will eat you. This makes sense to me. You predict. As a rat. You end up with a brain that can see things that haven't happened yet. This eventually proceeds to a creature that knows it will die, but can't do anything about it, but that's really just a side effect of the larger movement to survive.

That's the tie in, knowing that a cockroach is crossing your path in two seconds, and seeing a soccer ball start its ascent, and knowing where it will fall, and knowing that we are all on trajectories, predictable, if we were just a tad smarter about the whole thing.