Whatever you bind on earth

Undoing Volcanoes+Cosmic Chaos:The Spring Mating of the Socks






I am packing to leave for fishcamp this week. Getting from here to there, from one house to another, from one island to another is something of a feat, beginning with this: Gathering, collecting boxing, cataloging, taping, labeling, carrying and carrying again, some seven times before all my stuff—essential to the last book and kitchen gadget---finally lands on Harvester Island, some 100 miles away.

In the midst of this comes the annual rite most of you practice as well----spring cleaning. And it IS spring here, finally! The snow on the mountains is melting. The flakes and flurries of this last week did not stick or stay. The ground is still dead and brown mostly, but the light has returned---it is light until almost 11 pm now. I look upward with fresh anticipation.





But when that spring resurrection and light floods through my living room windows---I see something else. Dirt. Decay. Humus, the dust we're made of and the dust we leave in our wake every stroll through the rooms of our houses.


Where does it come from? The dust comes from our own dust, from the 50,400,000 skin cells we leak every day. And that dust comes from star dust. The famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains in a video gone viral that we are made from the stars.
The atoms that make up our bodies---the carbon, iron and oxygen---came literally from the stars themselves, who exploded their "enriched guts" into the universe, creating our world and providing the elements that compose our bodies. The most astounding fact of the universe is this, says Tyson: "We are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but more importantly, the universe is in us …. We are made of star-stuff."



(Tyson, a self-described agnostic, ridicules the notion of a Creator God who used these processes to create All That Is, including women and men made in His image.) This star-dust also comes blasting out of the earth---as we were reminded again this week with the eruption of Pavlov Volcano out on the Aleutian Chain, just south west of Kodiak Island. An inferno of ash, steam and smoke blew more than 20,000 feet into the atmosphere over the weekend, cancelling some local flights.
(Both photos courtesy of USGS) Closer to home, all this ash, detritus, this dust tumbleweeding across my wood floors . . . Don’t we who are spring cleaning know the world is unraveling, falling apart, crumbling into entropy? 
 Even beyond the dust creatures under my dressers, and the ash and pumice that washes up on our beaches, I have overwhelming evidence of it in my own sphere, this house I inhabit with my family, this little cosmos with its own gravity and orbit. I can make my case for the world unmaking in a hundred ways, but for today, I mention only one more: 
I know you are nodding your head right now. You know what I’m talking about. Perhaps nothing else better illustrates the entropy we all fear, the encroaching randomness of the universe than the universal disappearance of socks. No, the disappearance of A sock. Because they never disappear in pairs. If they did, who would care? But this is just the point----that these items, created in pairs, packaged in pairs, sold in pairs, worn in pairs, and put into the washer in pairs---somehow fall prey to some subversive anti- gravitational system. Or perhaps there is Velcro suctioned somewhere where we least suspect it. Or----it may be something as simple as Sock Lust that lures them away. Adultery is ugly in any form. (I never am sure if the one sock I find is the one who has strayed faithlessly from the match, or if it is indeed the stalwart One who has stayed True all the way out of the dryer. ) I have three full laundry baskets of such strays/stalwarts. 
I cannot leave my house for the entire summer in such a state. So—yesterday I began: The Spring Mating of the Socks. It went like this:
The Spring Mating of the Socks

When all halves are wholed

and row on row still quilt my couch:

the striped, dotted, floral, knit,

the stipppled, nubby, the polyproped---

In hope I trust that word 

and pair them skewed:

an anklet with a knee high,

a swiss dotted with a crew,

an argyle with a slouch,

a silk stocking with a tube.

I knot them urging "mate!"

then wait to wake to booties, 

socklettes, stocking bambinis;

precious little twins,

(identical, of course.

If fraternal, then divorce!)



And so, like this, in my own humble way, I resist the chaos that undoes the world, at least my house. I hope you will try it too. As spring’s longer light reminds us, there is always hope. New life will come. Love and a creative eye and heart can Re-Pair every undone pair, both socks and people.
And remember, none of this redemptive work is wasted, for “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Ahhhh, some will be barefoot on those streets of gold,  and some will have socks. And some will even have socks that match---Glory! (Which will you be?)