Tuesday, May 29, 2012

That's What Matter Does

Blogger EBL linked a striking photograph yesterday in honor of Memorial Day.  I'm putting it here to make another point. Notice how all the gravestones line up in a regular array:

Now focus on just the gravestones and mentally factor out the trees and the slight unevenness of the land. Pretend it's perfectly flat and that you are at eye level with the gravestones. Depending on which way you look, you can see through the array--even all the way through. This is what matter does too (atoms and molecules) when it crystallizes. Order ensues as the one becomes a greater whole. The individuals buried at Arlington are united in a common whole. But unlike the men and women buried in each grave, each atom in a crystal is essentially the same, and we can get insight into the structure of the one by shining light on the whole.


  1. Getting insight into the structure of the one by shining light on the whole is something to Bragg about if you know what I mean.

  2. Gardens of stone...

    The photo is haunting. It's more haunting to walk around Arlington National Cemetery. IMHO

  3. Yes.

    I was not aware of the connect to General Lee until I read the attached article. Which led to the wiki, where it says he was later compensated and ends with these fine words:

    Benjamin Harvey Hill described Lee as:
    ... a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbour without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar, without his ambition; Frederick, without his tyranny; Napoleon, without his selfishness, and Washington, without his reward.

    Whether true or not, they and the land-turned- cemetery add to the legacy of one whose life made a difference.

    Lives lived, holes filled, become part of a whole within, outside and beyond present reality and imagination.

  4. LL and MamaM: Gorgeous thoughts!