Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fragile Flexibile Things

I've been thinking a lot today about the fragility of life. It's so easy to feel like we have control over our lives, or at least have a pretty big say in how they turn out. Without even realizing it, we tell ourselves that bad, scary things happen to people who don't plan, don't care, or don't watch their backs. So we exhaust ourselves scrambling to get our lives in perfect order. Then, out of the blue, we or someone we love, experiences something CRUSHING, and all of a sudden life looks painfully fragile.
I adore the Coen Brothers' "A Serious Man," in which the final scene drives this message home.

So I started thinking of fragile things that are able to withstand hard blows, like houses built on stilts in earthquakes zones and such, in order to shift with the earth's movement, and not end up with cracked foundations -- homes rolling with the punches, their strength lying in their flexibility.

 or horses' knees as natural shock absorbers because of their ability to bend in both directions.

or the super complicated structure of a spider's web, which allows air to pass through the spaces between its elastic fibers without snapping the web.  

These are things that appear breakable or unstable, but actually have a type of strength based on flexibility. No one wants to snap, but life is fragile, and the best examples of resilience seem to be based on flexibility.

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