Considering the Void, 5 am


by Sun Jesper Jansen link blog

Reading about geology and deep time
and Norse mythology before bed
apparently means that I wake up
with a line like this in mind:

There were tardigrades
in the Ginnungagap.

I blink into the before-alarm dawn,
pondering insanity, and the vision
of the great Primeval Cow licking
a little water bear into being.

I hope everyone’s winter rituals have been restorative and strengthening for the season ahead. My Yule, which is not precisely the same Yule celebrated by my Wiccan friends but some of the work is the same, felt like an unusually important one, and the magic was powerful because I actually slept. (Alas, the drug I mentioned a few posts ago ended up being utterly useless, so we’re back to more ancient practices and potions.)

The year is closing on a difficult new prospect: they found cancer in one of my husband’s lungs last week, so surgery will be among the first adventures of 2021. We have our consultation Tuesday to set the date and generally prepare him for an experience that he’s not in the best shape to deal with. My task for both of us is to recognize the outcomes that are subject to influence, and manage expectations, and generally continue to be the one friend sturdy enough to have lived with him for 20 years. We’d both like there to be at least a few more of those, so we’ll see what we can do. My consultation with the Tarot, as I promptly showed him, was favorable.

The little poem above is of course a true story. The books are Robert Macfarlane’s Underland, and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology (incredibly, you can listen to the whole audiobook (read by the author, 6.5 hours) here). Very different books, superb in very different ways. Macfarlane’s is unforgettable — though I must admit I can’t be completely sure he mentions tardigrades… I think maybe they were just in the news while I was reading the book. So if you’re interested in the book solely for water bears, don’t be disappointed. There is much more to amaze you, and make you deliciously claustrophobic, to be sure.

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