Perseverance

02.20.21

‘”Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.’ – Chapter V: Riddles In The Dark. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This week has plodded along, as slow-moving as trudging through deep snow. Everyday, I’ve shoveled our stone steps as snow bands leave behind an inch or a foot. Then the sun comes out for awhile, then the snow again. Our road has been plowed twice, and the UPS driver sends me texts that he’s can’t navigate its icy descent, so he’s left the latest book I’ve ordered in a neighbor’s carport up at the highway. I think I only took the car out one time to pick-up an order of groceries in town. I’ve grown weary of spending time online in search of a left-over Covid vaccine for Don; he’ll just have to wait his turn in a long cue for the next tier to become available. Our septic pump alarm went off early in the week, sending fears of a back-up like we had last Fall. It’s been easier to revert to frontier cabin living this time around, as I watch what the poor people in Texas have been living through. There’s been a Covid death in the family of one of my friends this week, and the birth of a baby girl in another friend’s family. Life moves on.

“I’m safe on Mars. Perseverance will get you anywhere.” #CountdownToMars.

Whilst we’ve had our dramas and traumas down here on Earth, a few days ago, the NASA rover, Perseverance, traveled 293 million miles over 203 days to land exactly where she was supposed to, and then sent out a tweet with photos of her “forever home”. She’s brought along a helicopter, Ingenuity, in the search for rocks to help us understand the origins of our beautiful blue and troubled planet. In Native News Online, I read an interview with the mechanical engineer, Aaron Yazzie, a Native American (Navajo, Dine’ tribe), who is a member on the NASA team, and thought how in the current times we live in, his perspective is vital.

“…For Yazzie, that has meant pursuing origin stories ingrained in him from childhood. Navajo children are told stories of how land forms and how constellations in the sky came to be in order to better understand their identity and their connection to the land, he said.

In another week or so, we will leave February behind, as we trot forward into the month of March–with our little swords.

‘You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!’ – Gandalf, Chapter XIX: The Last Stage

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