Thursday, August 28, 2008

on moons, goats, and stuff

all I want to write about today is the moon.
it was a teeny sliver of crescent this morning, lying on its back, just resting there in the eastern sky.
it was my favorite kind of moon, where the part we give name to is well illuminated, but the entire moon is still visible. in the dark this morning, I could see the whole moon, with all of its craters and rises appearing as different shades of indigo and navy. and then the slender, graceful crescent of brightly lit moon just hung there, smiling back at me.

although I could go on about the moon forever, I understand it becomes tiresome. you might not love it the same way I do, or you might, but may still not want to read what I have to say about it. so I will move on, but just know that it was glorious, and all who slept until six-fifteen or so would have completely missed the dual view.

I saw my first goat in emigration canyon this morning. alive, thankfully, and no, I didn't even come close to running it over. (but the porcupine is still there . . . ) on my way downhill I noticed a rather large black and white dog with a peculiar gait running up the other side of the road. there was a small SUV behind it, possibly guiding it, encouraging it to run back home, I thought. and as the distance between us narrowed, I realized it was not a dog, but some other animal, and, yes, crazy, a goat! the goat veered off to the left, down into what appeared to be a yard and then I was past the spectacle and I assume all was well.

which brings to mind two thoughts. first, as we weave our ways through life, we are constantly given minuscule glimpses of other people's lives. we witness scenes like this, we see the aftermath of a car accident, we walk by lovers holding hands on a bench, we overhear an argument at the grocery store. and either we make up stories to fit those tidbits, or we file the events away to be pondered later, or we just let them flow over, through, and past us. if I think too deeply about them, I sometimes find myself immobilized. life is so full and rich, so deep, so touching, so painful.

my second thought is along more scientific (and therefore less touchy-feely) lines. it's about the process in my brain that led me from "largish black and white four-legged animal" to "dog" to "something other than dog" to "goat." I think that because I get up, throw clothes on, and get on my bike early in the morning, my brain is not always in "quick fire" mode during my rides. add to that the fact that I am sending all that oxygen and focus to my leg muscles, not my thinking muscles, and I find it understandable that my thoughts are often slowed. which avails me of the opportunity to be more attentive to them. I had time, this morning, to observe each step of the goat-identification process. how amazing our minds are. and to think that we begin not knowing what anything is . . . I could segue here into an entire discussion of whether or not I'm better off being able to label the goat "a goat," as opposed to just seeing the largish black and white four-legged animal, but I will spare you that.

steven pinker's book The Stuff of Thought has been in my possession since last Christmas, and I finally started to read it a few months ago. and I am still trying to read it. he is a brilliant man, and I can follow quite a few of his thoughts, but not all of them. the book is about how we learn to use language, and how language connects to our thoughts. it is truly fascinating that we operate the way we do. mr. pinker could go on and on about my goat-naming process, but I will stop where I have stopped, adding only that

it was really cool to see a goat running up emigration canyon road this morning.

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