Cogitation 5, 2020 Saturday 1 February “Time takes all and gives all,” said Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). I can only surmise what this Italian philosopher, Dominican friar and poet meant by his statement. How did he tie that, for instance, to his views on infinity, or the unity of truth in science and faith? I can only imagine what Bruno’s life and times were like in the advent of the Scientific Revolution.
Bruno would be a topic for discussion over morning coffee, or a lecture, or reading his biography. Bruno, like Copernicus, believed that the earth orbited annually around the sun and that the earth daily turns on its own axis. Bruno, however, had some fantastical ideas not in tune with Copernicus and other philosophers and cosmological theorists of the day. He believed in extraterrestrial beings, that there were numerous inhabited worlds. He may be a hero for modern believers in UFOs and aliens.
Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic on 17 February 1600. His statue can be found in Campo de’ Fiori square in Rome: wrists bound, book in hand, face partially obscured by his cowl. After Galileo (1564-1642), he was Italy’s most famous heretic.
I saw the Bruno quote in Coffee News, 27 January 2020. I’m making a loose application of it to the extra day we have in this 2020 leap year. Every four years leap year appears on the Gregorian calendar. Time takes away all of one day in three years and gives all of it back in the fourth. Apparently, the extra day keeps, or gets, us up to speed on time. Some traditions wait 400 years and add a month. I’ll take February 29, every four years.
A leap year past
In the misty haze of college-era memory, I recall a leap year Sadie Hawkins’s Day dinner date, in which the traditional gender roles were reversed. Happily so. (I read Al Capp’s Li’l Abner cartoon for a time, featuring Sadie and her dad, Hekzebiah. The strip ran 1934-1978.)
Three women students invited two friends and me to dinner at a downtown restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We dressed up in suit and tie. As I recall, the food was very good, the evening fabulous. We may have gone to a concert after, I don’t remember. So fine. So leaping lizards fine, a leap year long ago.
More from Coffee News: “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.”
Abraham Lincoln found his way into a book written by my dermatologist. Lincoln: “I worried about a lot of things in life and some of them actually happened.” A Doctor’s Dose of Inspiration: What a dermatologist learned from his patients and his life–wisdom from the skin in, by Roger T. Moore, MD (2018, Elkhart, Indiana, 92 pp).
Another quote from Dr Moore’s book, this one from William James (1842-1910) : “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.” How many altered attitudes does a good life make? James was the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States.
Finally, this sage comment from Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus: “To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.” Speaks to me.
Winter country interlude
“Nobody wants to be at the lake in winter,” mused my sister-in-law, Mary last weekend. Marty and I spent two days with Mary and Gerald at their lake cottage in LaGrange County. On Saturday, Marty and Mary attended a baby shower for a great-niece. At the cottage we enjoyed chit chat, food, and games of Canasta and Five Crowns.
How sweet it was to be in a cozy setting, watching cloud-like waves of snow skitter across the thin ice, the coffee maker ever compliant, a cookie or two at hand, sound sleep, a meal out with just enough takeaways for the next evening, supplemented with cheese, chips and a mixture of bananas, apples and oranges. Breakfast included baked oatmeal (the leftover dish mentioned in last week’s blog). It truly was a restful, renewing, moment in time, imbued with a lake-full of well-being.
This week we had the pleasure of having friends Willard and Alice come for brunch. We live on the same campus, but need to carve out time to replenish our bank of conversation and nutrition. And we did.
We caught up on news and views over a first course of smoked wild salmon, bagels, cream cheese, onion, capers, heirloom tomatoes, olives, pickled corn, and fruit smoothies. The Pacific West Coast salmon came from the Duty Free shop at the Sarnia/Port Huron border, as did the spicy pickled corn, a product of India.
Second course was a baked Denver omelet. Then came a small plate of orange slices and prunes, small danish pastries, and coffee. It made a two-meal day for us.
I’m all for farm-to-plate food, though there are occasions when I do appreciate what’s in store from the wider world, especially news.
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” William Shakespeare
A concluding thought from Dr Moore: “When I realized quite a few people talked about their past, it dawned on me that today is tomorrow’s past. How many of these people (myself included) had known, during those moments they reminisced about, that those would be the times they would look back on and cherish? This thought also made me wonder if we miss some of the value of this current time in our life, or ‘the present,’ because we are too focused on getting through the day. . . .
“It is up to us to get from the day rather than through the day [emphasis mine]. Let’s take the opportunity to experience most fully the magic of this very moment as we put it into the context of the many days of our life. By thinking of each day as a magnificent gift, we are truly finding the value in ‘the present.'”
Face-to-face, the dears