Polaris, or the north star, seems like something of unwavering permanence to us. It has been a stationary point of navigation for travelers for centuries, but how permanent is it? The cycles of nature are not confined to the earth alone. The earth itself is involved in natural processes far to great for us to see and that take to long for man, in his brief measure of existence, to record. Polaris, that glimmering spot in the night sky that generations have faithfully relied upon to show them direction has not always been the north star. At present, Polaris is always within one degree of true north, but that will change. We wont see it in our lifetimes but it will happen. About 2500 B.C. the north star was Thuban, and the people of that time were confident in finding that star in the same place, all the time and to them there must have been some comfort, some stability in always finding it there. In another 2000 years from now the most northerly star will be Alderaimin. 13000 years from now the north star will be Vega and another 13000 years from then it will again be Polaris. Old Mother Earth has a tendency to wobble a little bit on her axis, a process called lunisolar precession. Although it would seem that a cycle that takes that long to complete would have no effect on us or life as we know it, I have to wonder. How many atmospheric conditions and climatic changes that we consider to be the cause of many natural phenomenon are actually in themselves only the effect of a much greater cause. My heavens, the stirrings that come to a persons heart from just looking at a star.\r
My thoughts suddenly plummeted back to earth as I again became aware of those things close to me. The ice floating in the river crunched and groaned in its attempt to cling to the fragile edges of the bank ice that had melted during the day. At this time of year there arent the sounds of insects and frogs, but to one who is still, there is the activity of life, the processes of nature that have gone on for so long. An owl sat on a limb in an old cottonwood tree, patiently waiting for some slight movement or rustle from a mouse or vole on the ground. A beaver swims effortlessly up stream in the narrow channel of open water that remains, in search of some more succulent tips of willow or alder to add to his winter food cache before the ice closes \r
in for the winter. There is a red fox up on the bank diligently sniffing and nosing through the grass for another tasty morsel to satisfy his appetite or to share with the mate he has found to raise another generation come spring. Although they all seem to conduct themselves on instinct and intuition, they know that \r
preparation is the key to their survival. In the act of everyday living, the wild creatures are much busier than I am, constantly on the search for the necessities of life, resting only briefly when they feel the need, yet I envy them. No matter how busy they seem or how well they are prepared for the days to come, they live in the moment. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasnt come. What is important to them is now. We too can enjoy that luxury if we allow ourselves. A moment is nothing but another space in time. The amount of time is unimportant, a moment can be a minute or an eternity, it can be whatever you allow it to be. We all need practice now and then at breaking the shackles that bind us to the clock, and inhale life, if even just for a moment.