Science suggests that our universe is a random manifestation that happened to support life-as-we-know-it forms and that there may be many other randomly generated universes that do not. This suggests that I too am a chance manifestation of cells and genetic matter and have randomly, or relatively anyway, as I have certainly made choices, arrived here in this house, looking out this window at this view of tangled bushes and small piles of graying snow, and how long I will live is relatively random, and whether I’ll end up like the woman I read about today who is in her 70s and must find other cancer treatment because of a dispute between her cancer care center and her physician and insurance company while she is also trying to handle her husband’s recent blindness from diabetes or whether I will die at 59 like my friend did recently or live well and long enough and die quietly. And that my collection of skills and abilities is random and so no sin that many of them go unused in my silly job, that I’m not doing work that pushes my strengths, and that the toiling-in-obscurity of my artistic life is also random. And that I, with my irritating need for quiet, find myself living between two neighbors who do not believe in walking their dogs who therefore bark out of boredom and anxiety is random. There is no vengeful god at work here. I am not religious, but Christian Wiman (whose translation with Ilya Kaminsky of poems by Osip Mandelstam, Stolen Air, is terrific, by the way) suggests that religion is, at base, a way to try to incorporate the fleeting moments of transcendence we all occasionally experience into our everyday life. So if my response to all this random unknown is to keep open to transcendent moments through the day, every day, last night the arc of moon in the western sky balanced by the beacon star in the east, and let everything else roll over me, maintaining equanimity and the glow of those moments in my eyes and try to stay humble through the mumbojumbo of the world then I have a chance to be okay in this particular random milieu. So we might as well, all of us, have a happy new year.