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Mason A. Porter

She hovers in front of me with gossamer wings,
Causing tiny whirlpools in the air around me,
A hurricane in Tokyo, a monsoon off the coast of Shanghai.
A vortex in the center of a universal eddy!
I stare at her in awestruck amazement.
Gaia smiles in satisfaction.

The silent cacophony of a thousand crickets,
The blinding flash of a million fireflies
In phase, and then out of phase.
Simultaneously fast and slow, hard and soft, wet and dry,
Deterministic yet random.
Complex yet so very, very simple.
If I could only fathom her...

Sometimes she stays in one place.
Sometimes she sways back and forth, back and forth.
Still others she is less predictable--
I can follow her for a little while but not for long.
Poincare, Lorenz, and Smale can't help me!

The swirling spirals on her wings,
And in the ocean and on the sand and in the heavens.
And in the Depths below.
I close my eyes and see the same patterns.
And the same colors. And the same brightness.
The same rich tapestry!
Just as real, just as imagined.

Her thermodynamics overwhelm me!
Far from equilibrium--
The way I prefer.
I just wish I could understand her,
But I'm not good enough.
I never was.

Distance becomes proximity,
Closeness leads to divergence.
I am lost amidst increasing entropy.
Myriad possibilities yet none satisfactory,
My life is finite and she is not.


Mason Porter was born February 10th, 1976 in Los Angeles California. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1994 and subsequently earned his B.S. degree (after many years of practice) from Caltech in 1998 and his Ph.D. from Cornell in 2002. In August, he will be joining the faculty of Georgia Tech as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics and a Research Associate Member of the Center for Nonlinear Science. He is certifiably bewildered.

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