Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At the end of the day

It's a favorite phrase on the BBC and NPR, usually when some pundit is coming to a healing or damning conclusion: "At the end of the day..." Meaning in the final analysis, when all's said and done; except boiling it all down to one day gives it a very simple, almost Biblical, feel. Because we can all relate to the measuring of our lives in quotidian doses. As if each day is the whole play, especially these short winter days. At the end of the day, what you gather is what you got. However random those gatherings are.

I begin with this foolosophical fanfare because of what I got today. Not a big catch, just two, one early, one late. It started with hearing about the baboons. A story on NPR, by way of Radiolab (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121713610). A scientist, Barbara Smuts, spent two years in the close and constant company of a troop of thirty baboons in Kenya. She recounts one day when she was walking back with them to their sleeping quarters. They were following a stream, and at a certain point, at the edge of a pool, the baboons all stopped. They fell silent. Adults and babies alike. No noise. And they remained like that for about five minutes: seated on rocks, contemplating the pool, but in an unfocused way. Barbara had never seen this before, and only once since. Baboons apparently in communal meditation. Or some shared reverie.

Hearing this mystery was a kind of driveway moment, where you dare not turn the radio off. (In this case, a bathroom moment.) It wasn't that it was such a deep mystery. More like a dream, a code. We don't know everything. There was some hope in that.

I could easily have not been listening, and my day would have contained no baboon mystery. Also, if I hadn't entered the Emery Park turnaround in Lexington center, around 3:45, after buying Matt a pair of winter boots the size of two Louisianas, I would have missed the goats. A white one and a brown one, at the end of a leash, being walked by a lady like big dogs. "Goats!" Matt yelled. "That totally made my day!" Of course it did, mine too, smashing into the mundane like a ball-rocketing break shot in a game of pool, sending the predictable and the typical fleeing to the pockets. Someone walking a pair of goats in the center of Lexington, MA has that effect.

I'll go with the goats for today's advent window. But at the end of the day, it's probably the baboons I'll remember.

1 comment:

  1. i've been enjoying your blog, hal. i trust you're doing well.