North Dakota Meditations 5

I got lost up North the other day here in North Dakota while looking for an oil rig where I needed to pickup some equipment. Driving the flatbed Ford down the narrow section roads past harvest full of grain and fields full of chaff, I listened to some folk music by Gordon Lightfoot and thought about the autumn. We have had a long, pleasant fall, and yesterday the sky was perfectly clear as it set across the golden landscape.

There can be a certain sadness to fall, as the herbs die and the trees’ sap retreats to the roots. The birds leave us for the south, the bears and fur bearing creatures den up, subsisting on their fat until Persephone comes to awake them. As all of this happens, those of us who make the north our home can feel the specter of the frost giants, waiting to be unleashed from the Borean regions to breath cold and ice down on us. I shiver just to think of another winter, with its freeze that goes to The bones.

20070629_south_dakota_sunset_1.jpg

Our ancestors knew that the world was cyclical, and to favor one part of the circle we travelled over another part was foolish. The tides go in, and come out. The moon waxes and wanes. Children are born, old folks die. Trees are saplings, then carried away by fire and rot. Summer gives way to winter.

To defy these cycles, besides being absurd, would have been the most contemptible type of hubris. Nature hates a vacuum; the night is always darkest before dawn. At the height of winter, the sun is reborn to give us new hope.

North Dakota Sunset

And this is what ever informs me politically, spiritually, and philosophically; as a conservative, I know that what goes around comes around. Summer cannot last forever, nor the winter. Extremes are fundamentally unstable, as they defy the second law of thermodynamics. Human nature encompasses the dark and light. To deny either is to defy the universe.

The liberal mindset promises a Shangra La, a Big Rock Candy Mountain, a Utopia where all things are constant. They promise an endless summer. “Bad times need never come again, we have overcome the circles that govern the activities of the stars, the forests, and mankind!” . What we get instead from the liberal in practice is “always winter, never Christmas” in the style of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

My grandmother, Grandma Honey as we always called her, used to tell me about surviving the Great Depression. There were hard times, but she got through them with her family; she knew that these were just things that people had to pass through. Hard times, while painful and even tragic, were inevitable.

Let us not imperil ourselves by tempting God’s wrath with our arrogance. In time all things pass away. No matter how much we exalt the illusions of “progress,” everything reverts to the mean. There is nothing new under the sun.

Embrace the continuity of the universe that is so often mistaken for chaos, and accept the perpetual cycles. Anything else can lead to naught but discontent and misery.

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