The Physical Good

My 13-year-old’s wild to travel. I see in her eyes, in her schemes, as she wonders where her life will go, which way she can push her boundaries. I understand this sentiment. At 22, I gave little thought to a 9,000 mile cross country trek, save swapping a gas-fueled Toyota for a diesel Rabbit. This was during the first Gulf War, when the price of gas soared.

But now? Maybe it’s the early onset of snow that’s choked so much of Vermont’s roads or — more likely — simply that I’m at the place in life where I think, heck, remain rooted. Figure out this one particular place.

Walking after dark — darkness falls so early, early these days, before I pull out my cutting board to begin preparing supper — I think of Chris Hedges’ line: faith is the belief that the good draws to it the good. I read this good as a verb and not a noun. What a notion — that goodness is a physical force in the universe. I know violence begets violence, that using drugs leads to more drug use, that civility in a house tempers anger, knocks down the edges, and bends dialogue towards decency — and that the inverse of this is true, too.

On our back porch, the wind chimes call in a scatting of cold breeze this morning. Later, in the rising light, cardinals will appear, flashy red against all this white.


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