The Pie
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The Pie

Four grain bins. Three with Christmas lights arranged in the shape of Christmas trees and one in the shape of a snowman.
Spotted just a few miles south of the Land of Kent on what was once called Adeway Road, named after George Ade, and it was the first paved road from Chicago to Indianapolis.

Christmas Day and Stu’s Final Rhyming Reflections

From the Middle of Nowhere and Everywhere

Merry Christmas Everyone,

The theme today, most appropriate for Christmas Day over all the other days, is cozily expansive, a term that emerged here, or metamorphosed, Stu might say, in 2020.

Christmastime, at least mine growing up, thanks to the magic in television’s Christmas programs and the magic of the music my mom chose, embodies the concept of cozily expansive, even though the term wasn’t created with Christmas in mind. It was meant to convey human warmth + exploring real and abstract concepts.

That second part doesn’t have much coziness on its own, and that can make the realm less inviting and enjoyable to explore. So we hoped that simply by adding cozily to that expansive mindset, we could warm it up, as we felt it needed to be, because we humies have come to a point where we need to start looking more deeply at things, according to Stu.

No, that image, with hard steel bins, monstrous wind turbines, the no-that’s-not-Rudolph red light, all sitting right next to the noisy and cold highway, is not particularly cozy — except for what the Christmas trees and the snowman convey. But they do convey it. And for this apparently special Christmas 2021, three planets have stuck around to convey another aspect. That’s shown and described next.

Four corn bins with Christmas lights and Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in dark sky above
Jupiter is at the top left, Venus is right over the bins, and Saturn is the faint dot right between the two.

For me, these three planets, being aligned so conspicuously for the last month, symbolize the reset in thinking, a break with Aristotle’s mental model which had been chosen over the correct one almost two thousand years before Copernicus.

But indeed, along came Copernicus — to resurrect the idea of a Sun-centered solar system. The attempts at math and mechanics to describe the imaginary but intuitive Earth-centered model could fill volumes, and one could become an expert in that field of imaginary but apparent motion.

Those efforts, and the learning, were in vain, because they were based on an incorrect mental model of how things worked. But many people had various stakes in the continuation of the mistake along with fear of the implications of a profound correction, which was a simpler model.

And not to oversimplify human psychology and sociology, but it seems like we’ve been led down a similar path in social sciences and philosophy, but now we’ve been entering an era analogous to Copernicus’.

It’s not that humans could ever be described as simply, mathematically, and elegantly as planetary motion came to be, but the reset that comes from considering a different center might be profound. Like with Copernicus and the Sun-centered solar system, in a way it changes nothing. In another way, it changes everything.

Is this a spiritual thing? And does this day of commemoration in the Christian faith present a…manger in the room, as Stu would surely say? To the former, not necessarily. To the latter, yes, but not necessarily in the traditional way of thinking. Maybe we just hold it all out at arm’s length like so many other things that require contemplation.

Our dimlittedness here, I mean, The Pie is the humie version of Stu’s Fellowship of the Dimly Lit after all, doesn’t allow us to know in the traditional understanding of that word, let alone declare. It’s hard to not have this all veer into political, philosophical, and fashionable spite and speculation these days.

But I do need to say that my reference to Copernicus was not as an analogy to Christian faith or any other faith (and faith applies to both belief and unbelief as I think about it). The reference to Copernicus and the story of Us is more vague than religious or anti-religious faith, but it has to do with how we understand our own thinking, deciding, and influences.

Linus might say, “And that, Charlie Brown, is NOT what Christmas is all about.”

I’d agree. But Christmas is about a whole lot of things. And it’s the most cozily expansive time, if you like that sort of thing.

I have to mention a favorite Christmas song, and a favorite memory as a child. I haven’t even looked into the symbolism of this song, so I’m sure it’s much too religious in its allusions for those concerned about that, but I am not. It’s just the beauty.

“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on The Spirit of Christmas album, and maybe that whole album, have always represented a fair amount of cozy expansiveness on Christmas morning to me. Thanks Mom and Dad.

A large pear tree with blossoms
The symbolism of a pear tree can be whatever you’re looking for. Stu suggests looking for and finding more than that. This is a hundred-year-old pear tree on Hackberry Farm, where Stu used to live, where Rhettie spent many summers, which my great-grandfather Mashino (orig. Maginot) planted.

I’ve written longer than I’d planned to, so I’ll just leave this poem of Stu’s. It’s two Bug Stewings together, meaning two 7-line Cursory Rhymes. I format these more narrowly so they fit phone screens right, which is why there are more than fourteen lines here.

Stu likes his poems to rhyme and have a lighter rhythm. Sometimes I have to use hyphens to indicate when two or three words need to be said quickly together to get the rhythm right. This poem starts with one right off the bat.



Merry Christmas, from the Fellowship of the Dimly Lit : ).

Tim

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