Dillard is talking about the frustratingly constant fact that the world is not constant. It is malleable. Mutable. Constantly in motion, in a state of change or (dare I say it?) evolution. Floods happen. Forest fires and earthquakes. Species come into being. Species are snuffed out like candles. Human beings sometimes have a hand in it, and sometimes it's Nature.
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that I'm not a great fan of change. I eat the same breakfast every morning. An egg. The same lunch. Chicken sandwich, apple juice. My days are pretty structured. I work the same hours. Teach the same hours. Get home at pretty much the same time every day. If Nature is an instrument of change, I am an instrument of stubborn constancy. I am a redwood. A mountain. The moon. Always there, in the same place, following the same orbit.
Yesterday, I wrote about the Nobel Prize in Literature. How, early in the morning on October 13, my name will be announced in the Grand Hall of the Swedish Academy. The Nobel Prize has been announced in the first weeks of October since the beginning of the twentieth century, with the exception of the years during World War II, when no prizes were awarded. Thus, the Nobel Prize in Literature is a fairly constant thing, as well.
Next Thursday morning, I will get up at my normal time (4:45 a.m.). I will shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. Then I will drive to work. When I get to work, I will fire up my desktop computer. I do these things every Thursday. And then, I will sit and wait for a phone call. You see, just minutes before the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy announces the recipient of the Nobel Prize, she phones the selected writer to congratulate him or her. When the phone rings at my desk next Thursday, I will pick it up and have a conversation with someone in Stockholm.
That's the way things always happen on the day the Nobel Prize is announced. Always. That's another constant. And Saint Marty is not about to fly in the face of tradition, although he may take the rest of the day from work after he wins.
|Neruda's Nobel diploma . . . He got the call in October|