At present, in my small corner of the world, if I stand out on the balcony in the early evening, as I do, I see silvery Venus setting in the west and bloody Mars rising in the west ... both seeming to hurry faster than Earth turns towards their respective destinations. This is an illusion. They have no destinations, or none to be found outside the yearly round. Like so much else. Venus is a hurricane planet of storming vapours that would poison any of us in a breath or two. Mars is somewhere we might perhaps, with proper support systems, go. Even somewhere we (taking that pronoun in its most generous sense) may already have been. Love and War seem peculiarly reversed in the contemplation of the actual places where they have been anciently thought to have their homes. But not as viewed from here, now. All this is more or less obvious. It is strange however to be drawn so powerfully to a place I cannot go, stranger to feel repelled by another where I (generously thought ... ) might still go or yet have been. My balcony does sometimes feel like the bridge of a ship adrift among planets and stars, at other times it has the aspect of a see-saw which I can stand in the centre of, shifting my weight so it tips now one way, now the other. In Greek thought the goddess of love and the god of war were illicit lovers; but that now seems elementary. What I want to understand is how these three bodies are disposed with respect to one another in space, which I guess means in reference to the sun. In a visceral sense, that is, as a being on the Earth. Might take a lifetime.

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