By Scott Sullivan
Chronology is a negligible dimension. It draws on Chronos, a mortal who per ancient Greeks turned the zodiac wheel. Over time he was conflated with the Titan Cronus (to Romans Saturn). Both timekeepers knew its ravages.
Jealous of sky god Uranus who ruled the universe, Cronus took a stone sickle given by his Mother Earth Gaia, who’d grown sick of the old man too, castrated and deposed Dad, tossing his testicles in the sea.
Cronus ruled over a mythological Golden Age, with his scythe a harvest god, no rules needed. Warned by Gaia he’d meet his Dad’s fate, he ate his first five children by sister Rhea but the sixth escaped. Guided by Gaia, Rhea handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed. Baby Zeus was loose however, hidden in a Cretan cave.
Grown up, Zeus used an emetic given him by Gaia to make Cronus vomit up older siblings Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon, no worse the wear for time inside Dad’s digestive tract, then deployed his own reaper’s sickle. So went recycling back then.
Sophocles’ Oedipus was a take on this, as was Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Homer spun the wheel towards father-son atonement when Odysseus came home to Telemachus. Families are complicated.
Metaphorically and mercifully, few modern sons de-ball their dads. Time’s cycle has the same effect. Old men tend to procreate less, having dried if not wised up yet. Some fight this swapping aging mates for fresher, drawn by silver hair, wrinkles and other means which don’t always mean wherewithal and wisdom.
“Take a number,” I’d tell trophy brides queuing up, blinded by my dimness.
“Where and with all what?” one would ask, donning 3-D glasses.
“My heart,” I said. A coronary felled her.
We need a demagog to make ancient Greece great again.
Back to domesticity. After two roundtrips in 20 hours to Saugatuck-Douglas during last week’s 4-day winter storm, I skittered home 160 miles later needing new wiper blades to a furnace out.
Its cold, dark basement alcove allowed me to feel circuit breaker switches. None out. An iPhone 6 flashlight’s thin beam revealed the 3-year-old burner’s control panels sheathed by steel sheets.
Off slid the top. After fumbling I found the bottom had to be unhinged. Under each were switch-wire-light systems, components labeled in tiny white letters or marks on black plastic panels framing them. I switched, moved or twisted three likely suspects. Nothing.
I cursed trudging upstairs — I didn’t want to haul light gear down and back up two floors, then download photos to compare with furnace manual diagrams — when the heat came on.
Thinking back, I could have shot cell-phone pictures then and there, but all that occurred in the cold were my old man’s instincts to lug down and back up heavy camera gear. All my success anymore’s by accident.
Now? Three days of wet, heavy snow I’d packed tire tracks through during 12 trips and counting needed to be scooped off our winding gravel drive downhill, which I didn’t want to do.
My poor back. Don’t forget my left thigh bruise from slipping stepping off the porch the first night the slop fell. Excuses to ignore the obvious I could milk all the way till spring.
So I shoveled the driveway landing and left the bottom tire tracks, none fully parallel or linear, for pedestrians from the street at the bottom’s peril. Two Jehovah’s Witnesses soon made that ascent their mission.
Why grouse, I thought about trophy brides. I have this.
“I can’t help but engage the passionate,” I told them.
The women swapped glances. This was testimony?
“I don’t need a diagnosis, just thing to do.”
“We’re here with good news,” said the lead.
“I’m anti-hell too,” I raved on. “Come in, see my furnace photos.” (Wait, I had nothing to show. Time to pivot.) “Heard of Cerberus, our pit bull?”
“Is he in the Bible?”
“Better. The Sistine Chapel.”
Talking not of Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement,” the Witnesses slid back down my icy tracks.
Inside from the porch, it was warming up. Oracle, our Hell Hound’s real name, was racing back and forth down the kitchen-to-stairway corridor. Great, I’d get back to writing.
Wait, where was I? Oh yeah: Hands up for the gypsy, who read from my lines I’ve been dead for years.
I wound up my summer light watch focused on not fixating. Now icicles draped from gold leaves, snow bearded lingering red impatiens and more details gathered to show beauty melting and freezing fled each other. Safer outside my door than on roads.
Same and sane are different. Create, criticize keep going. Organisms not growing die.