Sunrise, Sunset. Hurtling Round the Sun

Or two steps forward, one step back.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking of the arctic ground squirrel today.
Did you know bears don’t truly hibernate? They experience a “winter sleep”. Their metabolisms slow, and their body temperatures drop slightly.

But they are easily awakened.

(This might be something from John Mitchinson’s Book of General Ignorance. But I heard it on Stuff You Should Know.)
20160919_193151The arctic ground squirrel, on the other hand, does hibernate. Her body temperature drops to as low as -2.9 Celsius. Her heart beats less than once a minute.

She loses bone density. Her teeth fall out, and parts of her brain die.

Then she wakes, slowly.

She builds new bone cells, new teeth, and new neural connections.

She is reborn in the spring.

*

The quote trending on Facebook today is Martin Luther King Jr.’s:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

An arc.

When seen from afar. Up close, it’s a series of sharp peaks and clefts. Soaring gains, and painful losses.

About a month ago I was listening to Jonathan Haidt and Melvin Konner discuss the “long arc of history bending toward justice” with Krista Tippet. One man believes it does so automatically. The other, because people push it toward justice.

Both agreed that a culture has to go through a period of (successful) capitalism to discover its own concern for human rights.

So where does that leave us? Trusting?

Pushing?

Paying attention to need?

*

I was pleased to learn this evening that, despite climate change and shrinking habitats, the arctic ground squirrels are not on the endangered list. They are still living and dying in turns.

 

 

 

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