A Passage

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My grandpa bookmarked this page in Hal Borland’s Book of Days.

From December 26:

“We have come into a spell of clear, cold weather, with a bright sun and the midday temperature getting up to the low twenties, then dropping at night close to zero.  Without wind, such weather is almost enjoyable.  We have gone for a walk, up the road, not across the snow-covered pastures, almost every evening the past week.  The moon has passed its full, now rises late, but the stars are magnificent.  They seem to have the deep fireglow of eternity, and though I admire the mathematics, I almost resent being told that some of those stars I am seeing have been dead and without a glimmer of luminescence for a thousand or two thousand years.  The light I see, I am told, and no doubt with ample reason, is simply light that was cast this way by those stars before they died.

Even so, to walk abroad now is to walk in the midst of infinity.  There are no limits to either time or distance, except as man himself may make them.  I have only to touch the wind to know these things, for the wind itself is full of starlight, even as the frozen earth underfoot, starlight and endless time and exalted wonder.

I look at the red-gold star we call Arcturus, and even as the ancients I strain for a closer look, through this peephole, this spark-burn in the blanket of night, hoping for the slightest glimpse of Beyond.  I turn to a star, even redder than Arcturus, and I have to accept the factual truth of the astronomers, and yet wonder if that is all, the whole, the ultimate truth.

Time, and distance, and wonder – we walk up this valley in the midst of eternity.”

My grandpa passed away on December 26.  A noble mind, a man of nature and classical learning.  A renaissance man.

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