Complexity & Simplicity


 Winds increase as storms form in the distance. Rays of sunlight extend from the clouds as the last gasps of the warm day are replaced by the cooler air of the night. The crickets’ song rises along with the whippoorwills’, and the sounds of reels turning and lures being cast into a pond blend with the onset of the night.

Planes heading into DFW mix with these sounds as they pass overhead. Flashlights turn on; glow sticks are snapped and attached to bobbers so that they are visible in the dark as they float on the water. I continue to type these words as the smartphone display appears to grows brighter. I believe that moments like these can be the best medicine for the blues, especially being outdoors and being around others, no matter how tempting staying inside may be.

I’ve been told that what defines an introvert or extrovert has to do with energy. An introvert gains energy by being alone, an extrovert by being around others. I’ve cycled between the two at varying times over the course of my life, never really thinking about being alone or around others as an energy gathering thing. However, I recognize we’ve all probably used the term “recharging the batteries” at some point when we needed some down time to regroup our thoughts or simply to rest. This place has always done that for a great many people over the years.

A fish slaps the top of the water, coyotes howl in the distance, cattle call out as if being rounded up, although it is dark and not usually the time for such activity. Last night a couple of bats were flying above the water, creatures I don’t recall noticing here before. There have been a number of events as well as critters I have not noticed before over the last few years. It is amazing how environmental instability tends to be reflected across the flora and fauna, including human society. What’s popular in the news of the day or across time can be a reflection of environmental conditions even if the two appear unrelated. It’s difficult to see living within the hustle and bustle of city life, but when living out like this for a decade or more, it’s difficult not to see that there is a relationship.

When there are dramatic shifts that upend our world views, or changes that arrive unexpectedly, we can be so quick to seek someone to blame for the behaviors in ourselves or those around us. It’s far easier to use words like, “someone has to pay,” than to focus internally or to seek a larger explanation, like environmental change. Some rush to declare it’s God’s judgment when a volcanic eruption destroys a village, or when a host of factors create great floods. It would not surprise me if a large enough meteorite had slamed into the Earth during a time when the skies were known as the heavens above causing people to attribute it to an angel being cast out of heaven. Oh, the caves (search for Plato’s Allegory of the Cave) we continue to live within, even to this day. Worst of all is when group think becomes “ordained by” and righteousness becomes such a crusade that, like a being caught in a riptide, all we can do is swim parallel to the shore until we are out of it, no matter how far out to sea we are carried before it’s over. Of course it would also not surprise me if certain conditions aren’t the work of a higher power: that of biology operating as a single entity to which we are merely one part. Overgrown parts do seem to get corrected from time to time, especially where biology is concerned.

What metaphors we create. Environmental conditions and the human mind have always had a way of linking metaphor to reality; they both rise from the same source, after all. Perhaps someday we’ll find a link between the two for the better. Maybe someday there will be enough sensors and a large enough database to see threats rise as they begin to happen. Perhaps word bubbles based on internet traffic flow planet wide compared to environmental change via networked sensors around the planet will reveal links that cannot be seen otherwise. Maybe instead of a lack of information triggering wars, such links could be used to trigger first responder teams from a variety of nations to help ease the deficiencies caused by environmental shifts (at least where such assistance is requested or allowed by those people who want or need it).

I digress. I’ve become so lost in thought I’ve almost missed enjoying this simple moment: the cool winds from distant storms, the sounds of the night, the laughter and silence of sitting with others in a place where cellular connections struggle to operate but the links fashioned through shared experience can’t be broken.

The complexities that are required by nature for simplicity to exist continue to astound me.