The Ariadne of Darlington

For Emma, on her Birthday.

Much attention has been given, in this fortieth anniversary of the Lunar landing, to the causes which propelled Man to the Moon. According to Wikipedia there were three essential elements: Science, Technology, and Imagination.
Of course, sometimes the somethings that Wikipedia does not say speak volumes.

Those three men who strapped themselves to a bomb forty years ago, who turned their backs on God’s good earth in hope of leaving dusty Lunar prints, were not drawn or driven by the trinitarian gearbox of Western Modernity. Science, Technology, and Imagination played its part, I’m sure. But we need no telescopic lens to see other reasons: fear and ambition, certainly the anti-Soviet virtues played their part. Maybe the romance of adventure? Maybe those lecherous old musketeers: Citius, Altius, Fortius? It was an Olympian moment.
But more profoundly, after discussing what force animated that one small step, that one giant leap of mankind, no one goes on to record what drew them back. A significant point to which we will return.

When Hernando Magellan set out to find the westward course to the Spice Islands he discovered a curious fact about the droplet of water upon which he sailed: all our routes are set to be circuitous. Sadly, he died before he could testify to this truth in person. We shall have to make do with a philosophical demonstration:

The Peripatetic Syllogism:
1. The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord (the steps of the righteous are the form of motion particular to their being as fore-ordained by God).
2. The Lord in all his being and activities is the sum of all perfections (and thus, the steps of the Righteous are perfectly ordered and therefore a form of perfect motion).
3. The perfection of motion is circular movement (a motion that never ceases or alters).
QED: The Righteous are ordered to walk in circles.

Aristotle would have been very pleased.

There was a point, somewhere in the mid-pacific, when for Magellan and his men every distance was an equal distance from their origin. Even if they had wished to journey further, they could go no further. Every breath of wind bent them toward home.

You are my home, the point to which I return with holds laden with discovery. Stinking of foreign lands and thoughts, ready for a wash and a tale. The Lord has taught me to walk in circles. I rise in the morning, I haul upon the door and pass along the street. And in the evening, no matter how far into the labyrinth I have penetrated, I ravel my unravelled string. I pass along our street, I push upon the door. I greet my Ariadne. When the day is encompassed, when I am done, it is with you my steps are ordered, my circle justified.

But that is not all! I am not done!
Just as the Earth and Moon wander about each other, sharing, as they do, a common centre some 4,700 kms from the centre of the Earth’s mass (a fact that greatly increases the difficulty of lunar landings). And just as this shared centre is itself a point in orbit around the Sun. So also our common centre is in orbit. We are Copernican lovers, you and I. You are to me two points, not one (perhaps this curious observation is suggestive of Quantum mechanics?).

The centre of my days, you are my apogee. As we whirl through the heavens, as we tread the great orbit around the Son, you are the furthest point in my wanderings, the rarest orchid, the undiscovered country, the great prize that I must bear up and away to our true home. You are my trophy, wife. The gift that I eagerly anticipate presenting to my Emperor, our brother, our Beloved. You are the crown I will lay at His feet.

Come! Let us run rings around each other, while each day we pass away and draw nigh. Let the seasons circulate with the motion of the spheres. For every step forward brings us closer to home – to Home! To the Father who ran out to meet us, to the Son who has gone before us, to the Holy Spirit who lifts and places each footfall. To Him be the glory in you and through you, forever and ever. Amen

For who is my hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are my glory and joy! (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 HCSB, singularised)


One thought on “The Ariadne of Darlington

Comments are closed.