A Closed System

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Yesterday I rode to Lawrence again on gravel. That is 4 times in 7 days. I’m not sure why I’m stuck in the rut, but it doesn’t feel like a rut, so I’m not stressing about it. It might be because it is so calm on the ride. Other than seeing a couple farmers on their combines and maybe a train engineer or two, there is no one. And fall is my favorite time to be riding the road. Nature is changing everything up while people are trying to tidy up their stuff before the winter.

I’ve had a some time to think about things since I buried Marti on Monday and I’ve been using it to think about big subjects. Mainly about life. Life in general.

I am surprised how taken back I was with how fragile life is. It is there and then, poof, gone. And how complicated it is. There are a ton of caterpillars crawling on the gravel right now. It is crazy how impossible it would be for a human to try to “manufacture” a caterpillar. It is beyond impossible at this stage. And I don’t know if caterpillars are very complex.

I think life is unbelievably cool. It seems to come from nowhere. It is an essence of something that, I’m pretty sure, I will never understand. And I accept that. It is beyond my comprehension. It still makes you wonder though.

I have a hard time believing that when something dies, it is just gone. I don’t think so. I think the whole thing is a closed system. And I have no idea how big or small that system is. It seems humongous to me, but who am I to judge that? Anyway, I think that when anything dies, it is still in the system. I’m talking about plants, insects, animals, everything. I don’t think that things can be created from nothing. And I don’t think that things can become nothing once they were. I don’t think that it is the same something as before, but it is still something.

Like I wrote on Monday, death is always the closest I get to religion. Not organized religion, but my own religion. And in my religion, life leaves one thing, Marti for example, and is still around in the general “life pool”. It’s not something like reincarnation. I don’t think that Marti is going to come back as another dog. That would be too eery. I think that her life essence is still contained in our system and is utilized somewhere else. Maybe a tree or fish or algae, I don’t know. Something like Avatar, the movie. A life force.

Of course, I’ll never be able to prove any of this. It just makes one feel better about the whole thing. A continuation of sorts without having to get too weird about the specifics.

I had a grasshopper jump onto my shoulder on the way back yesterday and it sat there for over an hour. I didn’t mind him catching a ride. I was a little worried, though, that he was getting too far from his stomping grounds. For an instant, I thought maybe the grasshopper was Marti, but I’m pretty sure that the grasshopper was older than one day old. Maybe next spring, if a grasshopper catches a ride and I think it might be Marti, it will seem more believable.

22 thoughts on “A Closed System

  1. WildCat

    I understand what you mean about the whole human and manufacturing a caterpillar deal. For me, I was never really religious or anything. However, as part of my undergrad major in college I took a handful of anatomy/physiology/biology/etc. classes. When you study how organisms grow and function it is hard to not believe that there is some higher god/being “developed” how everything is supposed to work together throughout different life cycles. Crazy complex.

  2. Jay

    I had a riding buddy pass away a few years ago. I went for a ride the day after his funeral and a hawk flew along beside me for a while. From then on I think of him when a hawk flies across my path or I see one watching from a tree. My way of making peace with the situation and as a rememberance of him.

  3. bob

    i have never participated in any organized religion. However i have learned many things due to real life experience. There are things that are unexplainable, the difference between life & death is not as clear cut as people make it out to be. My heart stopped in a car accident and it was a very strange experience. I had another car accident when my grandmother was near death, she told everyone to go help me, i was on a road i never went on and they knew just where to find me thanks to her.
    Lastly my grandfather was very ill and went to the hospital, he was touch and go but finally pulled through. He had a young dog who died the same morning my grandfather went to the hospital. We did an autopsy on the dog in case it was a clue to why my grandfather got sick.
    Nothing, the vet said he died of a broken heart.
    My grandmother agreed, she was getting ready to follow the ambulance looked out at the dog and saw him lay down and die.
    I normally do not share these things because i feel this is my personal experience and it is not right to influence people(long story)
    but i think since u have expressed the same gut feelings i wanted you to know that you are correct, and while it is just your “personal” belief, rest assured many other people have come to the same conclusions. Just keep an open mind and think for yourself you will see alot in front of you.
    I think knowledge and religion parallel and eventually intersect if u keep an open mind.

  4. bob

    and to wildcat
    i remember reading about a famous atheist in England who changed his mind later in life, when asked he explained that he could not resolve one puzzle in his mind. If everything comes from one source a cell from a rock, a tree and a human are totally different and they could never mutate to form the other. The universe could never come from one cell.

  5. stanley

    It seems religions are man’s way of understanding and explaining the vast ever changing universe..God…salvation, etc. Why we are here, where we came from, what happens when we pass. As humans we prefer to be in control of our surroundings. If we can understand it by telling neat little stories, then we can control it. But it does not work that way. Perhaps we are not meant to understand it all. In my Bible study group, where everyone practices the same organized religion, there are as many different viewpoints about God and the universe as there are people in the room. We are all choosing our religion..cherry picking from what we hear from one source and putting it together with our own thoughts and experience. It is OK to do what works for you.

  6. Jason Evans

    Hi Steve,

    You’ve pretty closely described Pantheism. There have been some real intellectual heavyweights who’ve come to the same conclusion, most notably Einstein. Probably closest to you would be legendary surfer Tom Blake and his Nature=God Ideology.

  7. bob

    you do not control things by neat little stories.
    In the vastness that we are sometimes faced with in regards to life & death, a story or commonality helps not so much to make sense of it all, but rather acknowledge that there s much that cannot be explained by current knowledge, lending the possibility that life may not be quite so random as some would leave us to believe.
    I have no answers, i have no control, i live my life as best i know how and have faith that i am not ruining things for someone else.
    Long ago i made a decision to not TRY to understand, just accept the beauty of the life i was given and do my best with it.

  8. Kurt Fletcher

    Nice thread Steve. I found myself in the life pondering mode myself today and was searching on the net for somebody to speak to me and than your thread popped up via-facebook. Just what i needed. Thanks

  9. phil

    Just let God in your heart and this will all make perfect sense. No need to look for deep hidden meaning in everything. Just accept God.

  10. jim

    sitting here in the icu with the pops in law, on the edge. someone just died a few feet away. la vie, c’est la mort.

  11. Jon

    The uniqueness of Christ is a start, Jim. I have read about (but by no means am an expert on any) Buddism, Hindu, & some Islam, and have come back to Christ. An expert on Christianity I am not either, but for me, it is right.

    I have read the Bible several times, and each time, it is more revealing.

    I would also suggest reading CS Lewis Mere Christianity as well. A professed Athiest turned Christian. Great read.

  12. Ted Lewandowski

    Steve, My dad died on September 11th walking out of the house – he fell from the steps to the concrete driveway in a free fall – I was a few feet away walking to get the car so we could go to the store together – it was the most troubling sound I ever heard.
    Still think about this everyday – and today was the first day I read your blog in a month – so not sure what to say – other than when it’s your time to go – the switch goes off.
    I believed in God before this happened but not now – he could have let my dad die in his chair – not the way it happened in reality.

    Spend time with your parents – you will never know when their last day on earth will be.

  13. Mark

    Just look around at all of the beauty in this world. Do you really believe this all happened by accident? Jesus is real. Accept him as your lord and savior and you will have an inner peace that can never be taken away.

  14. Ryan

    Why are some of the christians telling people to accept Jesus and blah blah blah? How about we all just accept that we have different beliefs, nobody can be sure they’re right and we leave it at that. Steve, I’m sorry for your loss. I met Bromont this weekend at Cross Out Cancer and he seems like a great dog. I’m sure Marti was too.

  15. Lalla

    Ryan, I’m with you. It doesn’t matter what you call it, where you go to practice it, or if you even care about it. I’m sure she won’t care once you get there anyways. Oh the age old battle.

  16. Phil

    Well said Mark. When that day comes and we have to look death in the face at least we’ll be at peace knowing we’re headed up to be with God.

  17. chad

    How could a god that was good let a baby stop breathing for no reason or let a child die from cancer. Only nature could be that cruel.


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