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The Stars Below

I've mentioned how Itamar and I are reading aloud Ursula K. LeGuin short stories, yah?


Here's that cover again:

So, last night, directly after hearing Ari's beautiful sentiments on the connections between creativity and bridges to the sky, and between death and the celestial, and the pattern of humans putting stars (or star-patterned echinoids!) in the ground... the next story on deck was titled "The Stars Below."


So in the story, a medieval astronomer is on the run because his studies are considered heresy, and he's hiding out in a coal mine, and eventually comes to believe that there are stars beneath his feet. So much in this story vibrates with last-night's session (what a coincidence, if you believe in coincidence), and I think ALSO our current experiences of isolation and time. I'll include just a taste here, bold-facing a couple sentences I especially love:


"When Guennar woke again a strangeness in his situation troubled him, not one which would have worried most people hiding in a hole to save their skins, but most distressing to him: he did not know the time.


"It was not clocks he missed, the sweet banging of the church bells in the villages calling to morning and evening prater, the delicate and willing accuracy of the timepieces he used in his observatory and on whose refinement so many of his discoveries had depended; it was not the clocks he missed, but the great clock.


"Not seeing the sky, one cannot know the turning of the earth. All the processes of time, the sun's bright arch and the moon's phases, the planet's dance, the wheeling of the constellations around the poles star, the vaster wheeling of the seasons of the stars, all these were lost, the warp on which life was woven."

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