In the Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin suggests that “the earth is after all something more than a sort of huge breathing body. Admittedly it rises and falls, but more important is the fact that it must have begun at a certain moment; that it is passing through a consecutive series of equilibria; and that in all probability it is tending toward some final state. It has a birth, a development, and presumably a death ahead.”
The universe, our galaxy, our solar system, the earth, and its inhabitants are rivers and streams flowing through spacetime. Humankind probably began to ponder where we came from and where we are going soon after it became conscious of itself. When we became conscious that we are conscious we began our endless journey through science, philosophy, society, art, and spirit. And what a ride it’s been!
I am endlessly fascinated by things I can actually observe flowing gracefully through time and space — clouds, meteors, satellites, rockets, airplanes, race cars, athletes, blowing snow, rain, ocean waves, tides, and rivers. Their speeds, rhythms, and motions; their intensities, subtleties, and often their sounds, serve up sensory delights that never fail to amuse and inebriate my “outer” person — sometimes addictively.
Many of these arouse brief (sometimes sustained) nostalgic pangs. The white dot of a satellite passing overhead looks the same as Echo did on a warm summer night in our backyard in the early 1960s. When watching “shooting stars” streak across the sky I can feel the night chill of camping out with childhood buddies. In the spooling up of a jet engine and the roar of takeoff I can hear the voice of my dad whose entire work life was spent making the turbine blades that create that racket. In the rumble of air and deafening thunder of a stock car as it approaches the tri-oval at Daytona I can hear my late cousin who was a big brother to me. And watching an IMAX film of the colossal Saturn V rocket, cracking the air as it boosts an Apollo mission to the moon, feels like God roaring.
These are merely sensory triggers of past and pleasant memories. The kind of stuff that can entrap one far too easily. But some things flow as virtual rivers and stir my “inner” person — my soul and spirit. And sometimes they form connections, like neural synapses, between the outer me and the inner me. Moving water does it best, especially rivers and bays and ocean beaches — the Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic coast, and a few remote beaches near the equator... my psychic flows.