13 March 2010

Back To Normal

After a week of sunny warm days, we are back to wet and cloudy, which is more normal for West Michigan this time of year. Not that I was complaining, of course, but it was odd to see so much sun at the end of winter. Our mountain of snow is all but gone now, finished off by the rains yesterday and today.

Human beings can live anywhere, and as Milton observed, "make a heaven of hell," if memory serves. We thrive in deserts and jungles, perched on precipices and sprawled on beaches. This may be why we are so dominant, and why we are so dangerous to the planet. But that's another post.

I am simply noting how almost anything can become normal, meaning expected and even comforting. Consistency is powerful, even when what is consistent is difficult or even painful. Consider how many people stay in bad marriages, endure dreary jobs, accept cruel governments, just because the thought of change is even harder. We may be adaptable, but once we adapt we like things to stay put.

Alexander Pope was so smart,

...Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!

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