Recent full moon over our roof in Paris…For weeks now, with all the natural and human-made disasters, an endless loop has been playing in my head. It involves something I read long ago in a haze of sleeplessness and overwhelm following the birth of my first child.
I was emerging from after effects of an emergency C-section, trying to relocate my body and my self under the baby weight, through the pain of moving any one of my 700 muscles, every one seemingly connected to a stitched incision across my lower abdomen. I was completely in love with my baby daughter, but in a state of intense confusion about the birth. We were both alive, I had been conscious and greeted her when she was born, and isn’t that all that counts? But it hadn’t been what I’d hoped for us. I had prepared for the event like an Olympic athlete, but because her cord was around her waist and across her chest like a safety belt (which was a surprise because it didn’t show up on prenatal ultrasounds), there was no way I could have ever delivered her like the Super Mother I planned to be. To make up for this, I would be a breast feeding champ. That however, was not proceeding smoothly either, so I called La Leche League for help. My apartment became LLL meeting HQ for several months and among other perks, I got a subscription to their magazine. Somewhere in a file in my office is an article I cut out back then, in which a young mother of toddlers describes her toy and sock-strewn living room as the incarnation of Entropy, the Law of Thermodynamics according to which all systems tend towards greater disorganization. The word Entropy transported me back to 8th grade science class and my disbelief when our teacher tried to explain it. This seemed to go against every moral and spiritual principle holding the world together. The universe was disintegrating, everything was breaking down and there was nothing we could do about it. Very demoralizing.
On some level, I refused to accept it, pushing it to the back of my mind for future consideration. So here it was again coming from an exhausted fellow female. I read on as she described watching her little ones sleep, her paradoxical feeling of peace after a hectic day where everything seemed to be spinning out of control, knowing her devotion to these two little people would energize her to pick everything up and put it all in its proper place, once again. She ended the essay with, “The opposite of Entropy is Love,” love being the invisible organizing force that heals and restores in seemingly hopeless situations. This made me smile and gave me comfort; I’ve never forgotten it, and it’s been on mind lately, making me wonder if there’s a deeper truth here and how it relates to the world.
Among other ways to take my thoughts off the headlines, I’m working my way through a paperback collection of vintage NYT crosswords. P. 105, clue 53: “Offspring of Chaos, to Hesiod,” four letters, the last two already filled in: “O-S.” Really, “Eros”?
Feed the clue into a search engine…yes, the poet Hesiod, thought to be a contemporary of Homer, recorded Greek religious beliefs (what we call myths) thus:
“In Greek mythology, Chaos (Greek: Χάος), according to Hesiod, Chaos (“Chasm”) was the first thing to exist: “at first Chaos came to be” (or was) “but next” (possibly out of Chaos) came Gaia, Tartarus, and Eros (elsewhere the son of Aphrodite)…”
Eros, the creative force of love and life, what some people call the numinous. Realities beyond the Laws of Thermodynamics…Isn’t there a theory that even so-called “black-holes” open onto fountains of light?
My new mantra and field of research in the face of current events: Out of Chaos, Love, Out of Darkness, Light…
An endless loop playing in my head xxxxx Aliss