Friday, September 10, 2004

Travel and eternity

I've been out of circulation for the better part of a week. Although I've seen Kerry supporters (or Bush opposers--I'm not sure which) handing out flyers and raising money in Santa Fe, I don't know whether Kerry or Bush is up in the polls. Although I've seen risen, fallen, risen remnants of Route 66, I don't know the current state of the U.S. economy. Although I've seen standing stones from cities built 1,300 to 700 years ago, I don't know how al-Qaeda is doing in its effort to take down Western civilization.

The ancient cities of Mesa Verde and the ageless and yet changing hills of the Canyonlands and Arches national parks teach about what is fleeting or lasting or eternal.

Losing an election is not the end of civilization. Even losing the war against Islamic fascism isn't the end of the world. They are both more and less. More, because the end is final and requires nothing else of us. Living on requires work and sacrifice, fear and endurance. Less, because every person, group, government or cabal is limited in power, with only so much power as is given from above.

I'm in Louisiana for a few days, where the land writhes with ancient life--my daughter runs past the toads sitting on the sidewalk and won't go past the stinkbug in her path by the swimming pool.

Something profound and real about the lasting things puts into perspective the things that change day by day. The ephemera are important, too, but they're not all, and it's sometimes too easy for me, at least, for forget that.

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