Saint Cat’s head was sodden with worries, so she went in search of Cilantro the Sage. One evening, she found him on the beach.
“Cilantro,” she said, “My head is sodden with worries. In this unprecedented time full of unprecedented events, no one trusts anyone, and we are all very tired. My old friends are threatening strangers to me now. Should I just stick apart from them?”
Cilantro scratched his nuts thoughtfully. “Let me tell you about the seasons,” he said.
“The tides are controlled by the moon. I have watched them. The rising tide rushes in, covering the Chaos of the shore with the Disorder of the waves — the sea making messy frothy love to the shore. Our footprints in the sand are erased, only to influence great waves out at sea in unpredictable ways. Then the sea puts on her clothes and leaves: the Bureaucracy of the falling tide. The wet spot on the bed — the bare shore — is the liminal ecosystem of Aftermath, where creatures that could survive neither in land nor in sea thrive among the rotting drowned creatures of the other two domains.
“Compare the tides to the stars. The stars are balls of roiling nuclear fire, racing steadily away from each other due to the expansion of the universe. If they collide, they die. They may fall into a binary orbit, but even this is a dance of death: they spiral into each other until the inevitable collision that kills them both.
“The sea and the shore stick apart and stick together. The stars only stick apart, lonely in their chaos.”
Saint Cat, her head lightened, went for a swim.