“You can become impatient here, willing to accept any explanation in order to move on. This appears to be nothing at all, but it is a wall between you and what you are after. …moving on is not important. You must wait.”

“I appeared completely detached. I appeared to be smelling my hands cupped full of rocks. I appeared to be asleep. But I was not.

…It will occur to you that these tasks are silly or easily done. This is a sign, the first one, that you are being fooled.”

–Barry Lopez

Winter not finished.

I’ve almost blogged a couple times about the woman who visits this coffee shop everyday. She’s my mom’s age. She has the figure and pipes of an opera singer. She starts by inviting any single person to her table with open arms. She is the self-made welcomer of the place– she grew up here– and is soon hosting a conversation that incorporates as many other tables as possible. But it’s not a conversation any more. Her voice hardened, at some point, and is picking up momentum. She’s quoting scripture. Her voice is indiscreet, courting tears and glory and wrath and hilarity.

Today, it was talk of cold turned to talk of earthquakes turned to talk of prophecy, and the tears she shed, the other day, imagining the Flood, how it felt, because that really happened. I, at my distant-as-possible table, respond in my way. I put in earbuds and queue up “Hot Rats”:

For some cosmologists, understanding how we started with a low-entropy state in the early universe, and determining once and for all whether or not we have to worry about Boltzmann Brains or Poincare recurrences, are questions that shake the very foundations of our cosmological model. Trying to find a way to set up a low-entropy initial state has prompted some to hypothesize entirely new cosmic histories. And the possibility of fluctuations is so disturbing to our picture of a sensible cosmos that is has been described by Sean Carroll as “cognitively unstable.” It’s not that it can’t be true, but if it is, nothing makes sense, and we might as well give up on trying to understand the universe at all.

–Katie Mack