4.24.2012

A to Z: Universes

Once a day I try to remember to look up at the sky.  I look up and say to myself, each time, "That goes on forever."  Wait for the word to sink in.  When it doesn't, I supplement with other words: ever-expanding.  Vast.  Endless.  Farther than we are capable of understanding. 

I think of the light that has taken years to reach me, the light I'd miss if I wasn't looking for it right now, in this moment.  I don't mean I would miss it in that yearning way, not the way I miss my family over miles and miles.  I mean I would miss it the way I missed knowing my grandfather, missed breathing even one breath during his lifetime, missed sharing so much as a sentence with the man who gave me, they say, my love of words.  He put bookplates in his books and I trace them with my fingers, wondering if the ink rubbed off on my hands whether the print of his name could seep into my blood and I could come to know him that way.

It is good to remember that this light traveled years to shine down on me and I looked up at exactly the right time, and I saw it.

I stand under the sky and think of this: of myself, so small, of you, us, here, today, still.  Still here.  It is a fundamental property that energy is never lost, neither created nor destroyed, but conserved, converted.  We breathe the dust of stars and dinosaur bones.  Nothing is lost.  No one.  Not really.  In a closed system, everything is only... timing.

We were never meant to see the edges of the universe.  So I stand there, neck craned.  I close my eyes and imagine for a moment what is impossible to imagine, and then I open them again. 

I keep them wide.

I do not want to miss the light; it has come so far to be seen.


One month.  26 posts.  A to Z.  (Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check out the Challenge here.)

8 comments:

  1. Unknowable--like the Creator. Everything that's important is hidden from us. We can catch the light without understanding how it's made. Lovely post.

    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com.

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  2. Makes you wonder, if it takes millions of years for the light to reach us, if the source of it is still really there.

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  3. I call those zoom out moments where I (fairly literally) space out and think of myself as a tiny inconsequential dot on a revolving planet in a vast galaxy. I'm writing about the family of an astronaut and honestly cannot imagine sending a loved one into space. It's so unknown; we send satellites up all the time, but actually moving toward privatizing space travel kind of freaks me out (as evidenced by the end of NASA's shuttle program, which is what spurred me to write on the topic in the first place).

    Great post :)

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  4. Wonderfully said. And I've thought of that, too - the light of a star traveling thousands of years through space, and our planet just happening to swing in front of it at that exact moment it's passing through, and it's zooming down through the atmosphere, knowing it's going to hit, and not in the ocean, but land, and so many lights below, and it wonders if it'll even be seen, and closer and closer, falling toward an empty yard, and there you are, looking up, eyes open, waiting for it to fall into you and spark your mind and be recorded in words it inspired. That's really something.

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  5. This is very poetic and beautiful. The thoughts are deep. It made me think, so thanks for sharing.

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  6. Beautiful thoughts! When I contemplate the universe...the unbound...the neverending possibilities...challenging the limitations of my own understanding...it reaffirms my belief that there is so much more beyond US. Great post! :)

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  7. He would have loved you deeply.

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  8. 'In a closed system, everything is only... timing.'

    This gave me pause.

    'I do not want to miss the light; it has come so far to be seen.'

    This gave me chills on the scalp.

    Beautiful.

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