It is lovely (and hot) to be home in Arizona for a few weeks. The rains started without me, but I am not important to the rain. It’s the other way round.
June was intense. I’ve tried to take notes as things have rocketed along, but everything has been so tightly packed that there hasn’t been much leftover space to process. I found Boston magnificent, the wedding of Dave Grinspoon and Jenna Goldsmith delightful, Provincetown glorious, and DC like an East Coast New Orleans. I could easily spend time there, and plan to add it into my rotation.
Just a night ago, I was sitting in the Cosmos Club in DC, a place I had never penetrated before, playing chess with Roald Sagdeev, the former head of the Russian space agency IKI. He was a chess champion in Russia; it was both foolish and delightful to play him. He beat me twice, but I am not ashamed. I came to DC to meet him, to connect with him, to hear his stories of sitting down with Reagan, with Gorbachev, with Edward Teller, Carl Sagan. And oh, did I.
Meeting Sagdeev is an interesting example of an experience that strongly affected me, but could pass by as a delightful, essentially personal moment unless I make something more of it.
I have a similar feeling about other significant first-time meetings that happened on this trip; I can make of them what I will, which will affect their potential.
I find that when experiences that are over, I tend to be the part of the equation that retains forward motion; other people have different roles in life, or are busy, or have different agendas. If I want these meetings or moments to become integrated into my life, my work, or my heart, it is generally up to me. Both Lester Grinspoon (Dave’s father, and a man I have been wanting to meet for 30 years) and Sagdeev are open to writerly collaboration as well as human friendship; I can step forward or not. I hope that I will, and that I will do it in a timely manner.
This was me, in my tiny little hotel room in DuPont Circle (taken just for the night, to be a block away from the Cosmos and also the Metro to the airport, and to give the Newlyweds back their pad as they returned from their honeymoon) getting ready to walk the block to meet Roald.
I was so excited! I brought Liam’s portrait to give to him (he loved it) and I wore a clip-on Christmas tree bird on my shoulder, as I tend to do when something really important is happening.
Other things happened on this trip. Many things. I made a huge personal discovery about recurring characters in my life, and what it means when I see them (the shock of awareness of this reminded me of discovering that I was the one dropping the money I often used to find on the ground near my car…)
I’ve also been more serious about eliminating noise from my system; I am intimately aware of the implications of “you are what you eat” and attempt to curate my experience of life, adding in more of what I like to see in myself and always removing the same things: noise, needless chatter, admin nonsense, and worry.
I particularly dislike worry; it’s pointless unless it stimulates creative thought about how one might survive a bad outcome. Other than that, it clogs the quantum space, brackens the local water, gives false results. I’ve recently discovered that a large part of my motivation to solve problems at a large scale is just so the anxious people in my sphere of awareness will relax; I am attempting a sort of environmental approach to curtailing it.
It may be the case that there are some people who live on worry like I live on good light, but I can’t help that. I want to try to cut a path through it whether people are comfortable on it with me, or if I walk it alone.
I am overstimulated and have fallen a bit behind; I will spend the week catching up, swimming with Evan, clearing my head, and getting ready for the Pluto encounter in just 12 days. The photos coming down are… incredible. I’m so happy for the team of scientists, for humans, for Bill.
This was the official press release from yesterday… every minute the cameras get closer… even today, Bill says, OMG, just wait. Just look at that chain of dark spots. I am reminded of crater chains, of Comet SL9 into Jupiter. How exciting for Bill to be on the science team who gets to figure it out.