Sunday, May 8, 2016

RETURNING: The Physics of Deciding

Portland to Peacham 
8:00 am Pacific Time. Portland OR_5.8.2016
Conflict and Contentment

Dearest Readers,

I have decided to return to Vermont, my homeland of ancestors and wild nature-love. I begin my drive back on May 18th. VT is a crazy place that some say is difficult to like; frigid for long periods of the year, and far from big population centers with their diversity and variety of offerings. Nevertheless, culture abounds, quiet surrounds and choices are simpler for me than city life.
Asking Myself the Questions, Acrylic on canvas, stretch jersey, stuffing, glass beads, silk, fringe_2005
The decision to go back was like being an observer at a tennis match. One day I’d face the “stay in Portland” side of the net, and another day I’d whiplash to the “go”. I had a counselor here to speak with, and friends in both places who love me, and want me to be with them, like my Shambhala Center's Aging Group friends below, and ME Fitness friends.

Me top left, then clockwise Stephanie, Jan and Linda_part of the Shambhala Meditation Center's Aging Group
ME Fitness Senior Strength and Balance Group: left to right-Cindy_Deborah_Linda and Gloria
The hard part is leaving my daughter, her partner, and especially my grandson and granddaughter who see me as a natural part of their lives.
The kids in Portland:left to right_Henry, Joel, Ayla and Iva Mae Hazel
I keep the door to my garage apartment unlocked so little Henry can pop in. He kicks off his rain boots with verve. We read, we play and he takes off as easily as if I’ve always been here.
Ni-Ne (Me) and Henry sewing
Baby Iva May Hazel smiles at the sight of me, and stares from her stroller into my eyes through an entire hour-long walk, (if she stays awake).
I.M. Hazel in her stroller smiling at me (my daughter Ayla's hand)
Sigh. What’s missing is a sure thing. I wish a crystal ball of certainty existed to assure me that going home is better that not, or vice-versa.

Last week, Krista Tippett interviewed the American Nobel physicist, Frank Wilczek on her public radio podcast “On Being”. He spoke of the quantum notion of Complementarity in which two opposing properties of a thing can exist together and both be true. Normally in our “surface world”, the opposite of a truth is a falsehood, but not on the sub-atomic level. Light can be both particle and wave. Time flows forward and back. Both are true, but not at the same time. (huh?) I think I understand that right. Our human brains cannot wrap our heads around such ideas, but the math bears it out. The world is beautiful, and elegant the physicists say. Frank Wilczek loves the uncertainties, but most of us lay-folk do not. I want a neat little solution–clean-cut like a catechism question and answer, with all the shoulds and self-expectations of what a grandmother is and does spelled out.  Maybe the conundrum of seeing both sides of the coin is the actual truth.

So, dear readers and friends, I leave you this time with what I feel inside, which is a roiling sense of contentment, and a quiet knowing within this act of returning. I will be back, again and again.