.Great Divides – Different worlds, same universe

By Winslow Myers

Eight days of rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon with my daughter promised to be an exceptional experience. Introducing myself to a fellow voyager, a Texan, I joked that surely Texas wasn’t really planning to secede, because it would be a pain to have to obtain a visa to visit Austin. This didn’t seem to go over very well. 

We had little in common except perhaps the experience of the river and the canyon. Sleeping outside in the dry 90 degree heat at night, we shared the closeness of the stars ringed by looming black towers of stone, stars that included a spiral arm of the Milky Way, a faint mist of light that feathered across the more familiar constellations.

Later, after a short hike up through narrowing walls of smooth stone, with no advance warning, we came upon a string quartet playing Elgar! Waterproofing their instruments, the musicians had arrived safely by raft to concertize in this most wildly improbable of venues.

The music drew us into the larger conversation of the universe with itself: an enigmatically self-organizing system had crushed and melted and swirled titanic masses of rock, which over hundreds of millions of years sank below and rose again above great seas, leaching out elements that combined into the first forms of cellular life—life that became self-sentient and sawed down other woody forms of life to fashion cellos to play notes derived from harmonies already built into the cosmos, harmonies drawn forth into distinct combinations by the mind of Bach or Elgar, now conveyed to insect-bitten, sweaty river voyagers by these generous performers.

Call this unfolding creative process God or evolution or what you will; we were in it together, regardless of the lack of a conversation that might have led to some affirmation of our group’s interdependence as citizens of one country, or at least as humans on one planet. Secession from the universe is not an option—even for Texas.

Winslow Myers, syndicated by PeaceVoice, author of ‘Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,’ serves on the advisory board of the War Preventive Initiative.

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