Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life has crystalline moments.

Moments when the tiny squares of our existence come together in a structure that reflects and rotates into a symmetry; sometimes sobering, often profound and occasionally divine.

Our country seems to be having such a moment. As am I.

It would have been quite easy to continue my weekly missives through the ordinary new year and through the old (Russian) new year, that we celebrate two weeks later because of our daughter's heritage. More than in past years, most of us truly wished the personal painful and corporately grim events of 2008 to pass on into history. But I have been deep in thought, seeking the structure that will become my guiding light for this year 2009.

I'm no mystic and chemistry was not one of my best subjects, although geometry was. But at this moment the image that comes to me is the form of a crystal, shimmering in the light. Facets of it's shape reflect prisms of light, as well as shadowy depth; images of the real world. I'm not talking mystical crystals here. Think grains of sand. The salt you may sprinkle on your omelet. Just ordinary life. Some might say – irritants.

Few of us have looked at salt under a microscope. Maybe we should. Microscopic crystals are incredible structures of gorgeous geometry – a delicate lattice of atoms that can honeycomb and twist and turn in amazing dimensional forms. Strangely, they can twist 180 degrees and still retain their original symmetry. Talk about pliable perfection! It can take time for a crystal of salt to arrange itself into the kind of salt it will become; sodium chloride (nice cubic crystals of table salt) or magnesium chloride or calcium chloride (road salt). There's even a salt, silicon carbide, that has the same structure as a diamond. Yes, even simple salt crystals hold lessons in how to look at life.

You don't believe it? Think! We say that something crystalizes when it becomes clear in our minds... when the choice stretching before us becomes obvious...when the fuzzy hypothesis gels. And when the sheer simplicity of an idea once so obscure is elegantly revealed, or when the pipe dream suddenly presents itself in all it's glory, fully formed, as if brought on a beam of revelation, in those moments, we say that what can be, becomes “crystal clear.” As clear as a crystal of – salt.

In those moments the micro chasm of ordinary days become extraordinary moments. An ordinary day, January 20th, became a day lit by millions of symmetrical crystals -- of hope. My ordinary life, beset with uncertainty and doubt, becomes a brilliant mirror plane of possibility. I am one grain – salt to some, light to others – but to myself I am a symmetry being shaped by time and circumstances according to a divine plan. So are you.

©2009 Jan Johnson Wondra