The persistence of vision is an interesting phenomenon.  It’s a conjunction of physics and biochemistry that allows our visual stream of consciousness to be seamless.  Like how the scene behind a picket fence looks essentially unbroken if you ride by quickly.  Or how a movie appears continuous rather than a succession of cells.

  It’s all because the biochemical transmission of nerve responses from retina to the back of your brain is much slower than the transmission of light.

  I’ve long wondered if there is some sort of analogue in our memory banks.  Long periods of separation from friends or loved ones often seem to disappear into some sort of synaptic negligibility.  You pick up where you left off almost as if it had been in mid-conversation.

  Recently however, I’ve begun to believe Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is what is operative.  It basically holds that all pertinent facts about something unseen cannot be known with precision – only probabilities.  And that actual observation can yield surprise.

  A week or so ago for example I hadn’t seen oldest daughter for quite some time and stood not far from Casco Bay in wait.  Saw something catch the sun in the distance and lost my balance.  She had the lines of a really sweet sloop, fine sailcloth trimmed tight, on a run, heading towards me at speed.

  I swear last time I saw her she gripped my index finger to steady herself in the surf on the warm gulf shore of Florida.  

  But now, what with Maine’s rugged coast, it was critical that I quickly regain an even keel.  I wasn’t sure whether to tack or jibe or heave to and only at the last minute was, thankfully, after all these weeks, rescued by my navigator. 

  I looked into her compass and found my sea legs again.  We listened together about a candle burning at both ends, briefs, pro bono, and the state supreme court.  First part of her passage may have been tough, but we could tell that her grip on the tiller was firm and her ability to read the wind solid. 

  Soon it was time to shove off.  We sheeted in and  made for  points north.

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