Terry Marotta: Putting things in balance

Terry Marotta

This past October, a man appeared at my house with his boss, the owner of an interior decorating business.

They’d come to install some new window blinds and apply first aid to a couple of broken older ones. I could hear them chatting in companionable fashion as they worked away in an upstairs room, him making cheerful costume suggestions for a Halloween party she’d been invited to.

After a while, she and I concluded the paperwork and she went along, leaving him to finish the job. And, well, he seemed such a sunny fellow I decided to join him as he worked and see what I could learn about the complicated rigging of today’s window treatments.

The newest blinds were up and they looked great, but it was the broken ones that really got my attention. I’d pictured them having to be taken down and carted off to the shop for treatment, but instead here they were looking perfect.

“Wow, how did you fix them so fast?” I asked. “Is there some trick you could show me? Otherwise I just know we’ll get them messed up again in no time.”

“I see it every day,” he said. “Here’s what people do by mistake.”  He took one blind’s double pull-cord in his hand and tugged harder on one of its lines than the other, forcing it out of its horizontal alignment and making it look all crazy.

 “Renters of vacation houses in particular panic when this happens. They tell the owners that they’ve broken their fancy blinds, the owners call me to come fix them and all I do is this:” He took hold of one corner of the shade and simply pushed it gently upward until it was even with the other corner. “I mean, how can I even charge for a fix this simple?”

“Well, it‘s just magic to me!“ said I.

“Speaking of magic,” he went jauntily on as we walked back down the stairs, “a few weeks ago I saw someone make an egg stand on one end on the Equinox!”

I was a little lost. “You mean on the Equator?”

“No, no, on the Equinox! That date in spring and fall when day and night are the same length? You only have like a four-hour window to do it before the egg falls over again though. It’s all about cosmic balance!”

“Well that sure is amazing.”

“Yeah and you know what else is cool?” he said, as we reached the front door.

“I found out that really there IS no shortest day of the year because the days don’t start lengthening right away. Everything just … stops for a while at the end of December! It’s magic, like I told you,” he said.

And the next minute he was gone.

I went right to the Internet, which, like a sour old schoolmaster, pointed out: You can balance an egg on one end on any old day of the year if you have the patience to keep trying; it may FEEL like everything just stops for a while but that doesn’t happen either; and by the way, the earth isn’t a sphere really and its orbit isn’t a circle.

So when it comes to a cosmic balancing act it looks like you might get that in some solar systems, but not in ours. And those magical alignments my new friend sees everywhere? They’re basically all in his head.

But it’s good news, isn’t it, if the inside of your head is the place where balance and alignment really reside?

And better news yet: Get out the lawn chairs, because the days are already whole MINUTES longer than they were just last week!

Write Terry at or care of Ravenscroft Press, PO Box 270 Winchester, MA  01890