Showing posts with label Ray Bradbury. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ray Bradbury. Show all posts

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Why Do Things Fall Down?

Dear Readers,


I’m struck with a need to appreciate life.


One might say we do, but mostly appreciation is not the most circulated sentiment.


There is a lot of complaining and fear, so it would appear that there is not much to be happy about. We’ve hunkered down for some time, and it has changed people. From what to what? I don’t know.


Let’s look out there at spring bursting with sunshine and flowers. 


Yesterday I needed to drive to Florence, Oregon and became so hungry, it seemed that a hamburger was the one thing that would fix it. It did. I relished every bite, as did Sweetpea, who ate a hamburger patty all her own. We sat under this magnificent tree so full of flowers I could almost hear it laughing. 

After my appointment, Sweetpea and I found a strip of sand by a bay—not the open sea, there were only a couple of other people there, and she could run leash-free. She ran in circles, laughing as doggies do when they are having fun, and chased balls of sand kicked up by her toenails. When we reached the giant boulders that marked the end of the beach, both of us sat and looked out over the blue water and blue sky and watched a border collie, the white tip of his tail flashing, down the beach running after a ball, and chase it into the water.


“Chasing ball, good,” said Sweetpea, “ball in water, not good.”


We were lucky to have been born.


I remember Ray Bradbury once said if after you die and you were granted a moment back on earth, which would you choose. He would say,” Any one.”


I say some moments are better than others, but I appreciated that he loved life that much.




You know how you will have a book lying around unread until one day you decide to read it and go, “Wow, why did I wait so long?”


It is a strange phenomenon with human beings. We often resist the very thing that is best for us. Maybe it’s “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”…or maybe it’s procrastination. 


I am talking about a specific book loaned to me by my nephew, and I let it sit until I was about to visit him and figured it was time to return the book. Driven by the desire to see what I was missing, I picked up the book, and began to read.


The book was Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. It sounds a bit heavy, but it’s not. It’s fascinating. The lessons were written for those who know little or nothing about physics.


It begins with one way to create genius.


As a youth, Albert Einstein spent a year aimlessly loafing.


 How cool is that? 


He was in Pavia after abandoning his studies in Germany and joining his family. Einstein was reading Kant and attending occasional lectures at the Pavia University—for pleasure, not for grades.


Thus, are geniuses made.


He did eventually enroll at the University of Zurich to study physics. A few years later, he sent three articles to the most prestigious scientific journal of the period, the Annalen der Physik. The first shows that atoms really exist. The second lays the foundation for quantum mechanics. The third was his first theory of relativity which shows that time and speed are interrelated. All, according to Rovelli, worthy of a Nobel prise.


Einstein became a renowned scientist overnight.


Rovelli, the author of the book I was reading, in the last year of his university studies, spent a vacation on the beach at Condofuri in Calabria emersed in the sunshine of the Mediterranean Sea. He was undistracted by school, which, he said, was the best way to study. The book on his lap was mice-chewed, for he had used it to block the holes in his hippish-house on an Umbrian hillside. 


Every so often, he would lift his eyes to the glittering sea, and it seemed that he could actually see the curvature of the Earth. As if by magic, as if a friend were whispering in his ear, he understood that reality is not what it appears to be. Another veil had fallen.


He thought of Newton’s desire to find out why things fall down. Newton, in a moment of enlightenment, determined that space is no longer something distinct from matter—it is one of the “material” components of the world. It undulates, flexes, curves, twists. “We are not contained,” wrote Rovelli, “within an invisible rigid infrastructure; we are immersed in a gigantic, flexible snail shell. The sun bends space around itself. Earth does not turn around it because of a mysterious force, but because it is racing directly in a space that inclines, like a marble that rolls in a funnel.”


All things fall because space curves.


Have you ever thrown a penny into one of those funnels they often have at fairs? You throw it in, and it circles round and round, gently rolling down the walls of the funnel until finally, it drops into the hole.


See how magnificent the Universe is, and we are a part of it.


Remember The words of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh:

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”


“When you were born, you cried,

And the world rejoiced.

Live your life

so when you die

the world cries and you rejoice.”

--White Elk

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Look at the Magic

Okay, I’m awake. It’s 5 a.m. I decide do some editing on my Island book.  I go to my computer, and it’s like grand central station around here. The cats figure a closed door is an invitation to ask someone to open it. Zoom Zoom, traipses across my computer, purring, rubbing against me. For a skittery cat, he is affectionate when nobody else is around. Obi, Nina’s cat, tries to bury a piece of tissue paper on the floor. (He will try to bury my coffee too. He is the cleaner-upper around here.) Peaches, our poodle, wants out. Bear comes into the room, then he wants outside. Well, the sun’s up, and the animals have settled down. Time to pack Neil’s lunch.

Yesterday five-year-old Grandson was sticky so I convinced his to let me spray him off with our shower hose. Reluctantly he got into our tub, then decided that spray was pretty fun, and after he doused me with water, I closed the shower curtain, and was wiping up the floor.

“Ow,” I said.

From behind the curtain: “I’m sorry.”

“Oh, I bumped my head. You didn’t do it.”

“That makes sense,” he said, “Cause I’m not out there.”

On Monday, a good friend commented that if we are skeptically optimistic, the world is magic. And I decided to look at the magic, for I’m tired of reality.
So yesterday I tried to find a quote I remembered from Ray Bradbury. I thought it was this: “The world is a magic place or it should be if we don’t fall asleep on each other.” Maybe it’s his, maybe not, I can’t find it.  I took pleasure, though, in a memory of Bradbury. It was a warm night in San Diego. My husband was going to an Optic Conference. I almost didn’t accompany him as I had some wounds on my face I didn’t want to expose to the public, but they were small, and Ray Bradbury was the keynote speaker—that motivated me, scabs or not.
I don’t remember what he said, except that he always raised his audience to heights of stupendous expectations. Afterward I went up to him and instead of asking for an autograph, I asked to shake his hand. He said, “How about a hug, and gathered me into his arms in a big bear hug.” Gosh I wish some of his magic had rubbed off.
This is how I remember him.

And, what do you think of this? From the wisdom of Bradbury:

If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy. But if you don’t know how to read, you don’t know how to decide. That’s the great thing about our country—we’re a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way. –Ray Bradbury

I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it’s better than college. People should educate themselves—you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I’d written a thousand stories.

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.” 
 Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land? I loved to smell them when I was a boy. Lord, there were a lot of lovely books once, before we let them go.” 
Ray Bradbury

And here I am writing an eBook.

And finally, "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." --Ray Bradbury

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