Today, January 1, 2016, Patricia and I went skiing, cross country skiing, on a trail just north of Woolsey Airport. If you flew into this airport you would see Mud Lake, to the north. Mud Lake is just east of the trail we skied today.
Woolsey is the Northport, MI, airport. Here are three images of it on December 27th, as it was before the snow of December 29, the snow that allowed us to ski today.
We slipped and slided along, five days after the snowless airport pictures, on a trail that others had walked and skied. It was icey in spots. Even so, we enjoyed our first Northport ski outing. It was around 33 degrees. Not too cold. We were pleasantly warm.
On the way home we stopped at a favorite spot on the North Shore Road. The spot is pictured in “blue upon blue” above and “Patricia and the water” below. The one above is looking east across Grand Traverse Bay toward Old Mission Point. The one below is looking north toward the Bight.
While here we paused to savor the color of not yet frozen water and then to look for Petosky Stones.
When we found some we confirmed the water is chilly.
Among the three Petosky’s of January 1, 2016 was this one:
It is 2 1/4″ long and about an inch from top to bottom.
Petosky Stones are described on Wikipedia:
A Petoskey stone is a rock and a fossil, often pebble-shaped, that is composed of a fossilized rugose coral, Hexagonaria percarinata. The stones were formed as a result of glaciation, in which sheets of ice plucked stones from the bedrock, grinding off their rough edges and depositing them in the northwestern (and some in the northeastern) portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula. In those same areas of Michigan, complete fossilized coral colony heads can be found in the source rocks for the Petoskey stones.
Petoskey stones are found in the Gravel Point Formation of the Traverse Group. They are fragments of a coral reef that was originally deposited during the Devonian period. When dry, the stone resembles ordinary limestone but when wet or polished using lapidary techniques, the distinctive mottled pattern of the six-sided coral fossils emerges. It is sometimes made into decorative objects. Other forms of fossilized coral are also found in the same location.
In 1965, it was named the state stone of Michigan.
The Devonian Period was 350 million years ago.
I can’t imagine that much time, can you?
350 million years ago . . .
wow . . .
and I picked it up today, January 1, 2016.
With the ball of time dropping from one year to the next on New Year’s Eve and the passage of time that is too great for me to conceptualize, I got wondering about the two Greek words for time:
Kronos and Kairos.
Kronos is how we keep track of the passage and promise of time. When the ball dropped in Northport and elsewhere around the globe on New Year’s Eve, we were celebrating Chronos. Chronological time. Linear time. Time from then to here to then. It is the eras that make it possible to date the Petosky Stone in the picture above as about 350 million years old.
Well, that is what the Irish call a “thin place” a place or space when the human and divine are very close. It is a time that you can’t predict or make happen or create. It is when something memorable in your life takes place. Maybe it was the day you fell in love or the tragic day when one you loved was abruptly taken from you. Maybe it was a day when you felt “connected” to others and the cosmos as never before. Maybe it was a day you were with someone nearing the end of life and you paused for ten or more minutes to breathe on her rhythm, to breathe at the pace at which she breathed, which opened you to her in some way you could not have done with words Maybe it was a day you were spellbound by the colors of blue on the first of a new year beside the shore of Grand Traverse Bay.
Chronos time is often recorded in our memory on a color spectrum as muted. Today’s breakfast is not distinct from all the others. Kairos times are those that are recorded in primary colors. Whenever you recall Kairos times they come back as fresh as the day you first experienced them.
Well, on day one of 2016, I got both kinds of time. There was the chronos of this day, just another day in my life, another in the life of the world. And there was the kairos of being with Patricia in the woods. The kairos of holding a Petosky Stone of antiquity in my hand. There was the kairos of “blue upon blue” in the first picture in this post.
Chronos time makes me worry the world is coming to an end. Kairos time allows me to see and hold the kin-dom of God in my hands and heart. Chronos leads me to fear. Kairos leads me to hope.
Madeleine L’Engle in her “The Genesis Trilogy” reminds me of chronos time when she writes: “When I am most defensive about something, arguing hotly that I am right, it is time for me to step back and examine whatever it is I am trying to prove. When I am refusing to listen to anyone else, intractably defending some position or other (like doctors refusing Semilweisse’s radical suggestion that they wash their hands before touching open wounds) then I am incapable of being a co-creator with God. God urges us to be willing to change, to go out into the wilderness, to wrestle with angels, to take off our shoes when we step on holy ground. And God asks us to listen. God asks us to listen, even when what el (God) asks of us seems outrageous.”
Kairos time is when we breathe in: “God’s time is always now, and in this eternal now the Redeemer lives, and we shall see her/him face to face.”
My we, in 2016, be among those who open ourselves to change.
May we be those who discover awe in the wilderness.
May we wrestle with the angels of antiquity.
May we see the holy ground of “blue upon blue” and pause to listen and listen and listen.
El is hoping we will become outrageously loving.
May we so become in 2016 . . .