Friday, September 23, 2011

Carl and Carol

(Son, One Day This Will All Be Yours, Said the Large Hill to the Small Hill, 2011)

When I looked up in the sky in the morning the stars really did disappear, they were gone without a trace and I felt my thoughts move me along, ushering me to forget they were ever there. That was the impossible, they would always be there, years down the road, an entire lifetime between, I'd still look up and see them not with my eyes but with my mind. When I came to this great city, they did exactly that, vanished to the glowing city below. I imagined an aspect of human evolution, how it grew so large and so advance it was able to build a light that outshine the heaven's above. Orbiting above, like Satellites, we could see a sea of lights, the cosmos contained in a gigantic black sphere, a droplet of the stars. Each one of those stars is a life of someone, that the streetlight is being watched by someone who must attend to it if it goes out, the light from that building where people live, the lonely radio tower that broadcasts conversations between one person to another and music in-between. All those things somehow reflects the nature of the universe, that the natural spiral happens from the Golden Rule applies here, in us, as humans, as animals, a pattern that exists everywhere.
I never grew tired of looking up, perhaps it was something that was passed on through me from my parents, they always had a natural affinity for the stars, they were stargazers, and over their lives they trained their neck muscles and the bones of their spine to allow them to look skywards. It must have been painful at first, but soon realizing they had no choice, that they were captivated by the sky above, the one thing in this life that makes sense no matter what happens on earth, from this war to that, were the things that were never effected by life on Earth, the cosmos. And for a while there we used to be able to say, no matter what happens here, it can never touch this (as I point to the stars and imagine myself touching a burning rock in space).
In their flicker I imagined the stars talking to me, when I was lonely I saw them, speaking in ancient language to which I did not understand, but it was comforting. Later I'd learn those flickers were the result of passing of planets in a star's orbit that would eclipse star's radiance for a moment that has long passed. Something that I cannot describe, this feeling of something that eclipses us as things in this universe, renders us useless in comparison, the things that are so massive and powerful and old and old beyond any concept we can muster exist, are there, floating in space, effecting the space around them in a size of effect that is also beyond our understanding. I close my eyes and try to imagine what the sight of a red giant going supernova, it the silence of space would have on me, the brilliance of such an event would shake my very soul, would perhaps rip it into pieces, that something so absolutely beautiful and menacing in destruction can exist. It makes human life seem so irrelevant, that perhaps it is why we built those lights that could outshine the stars, that we could not take being so small and meaningless, and that we had to isolate ourselves to see the relevance of our lives in relation to the rest of life on Earth. Nothing more. And maybe that is why we both in fear and curious towards alien life. To know we are not alone, and that something from the darkness of space lives, has evolved in conditions we are just starting to discover exist, and that they want to make contact with us, traveling light years to do so, and for what reason?
Years down the road some kid with his mother and father will be traveling the southern New Mexican desert in a white home-made RV, and they will come to visit Very Large Array in Socorro. The boy in wonder, the mother happy to see her son's curiosities find a new level of fulfillment. Where the father is we have no idea, he was the one doing all the driving, making the dinner once they arrived at their campsite, and will be photographed by his wife wearing his CNN hat against the backdrop of the Midwestern United States, a small canyon there, a sunset here, it is quite the Kodak moment. And even more time later that kid will be an adult, visiting home, and finding that photograph of his father as he looks through a window, an un-patched hole in the fabric of time, and will project his thoughts to what his father might have been thinking of in that contemplative pose. In the end, the boy who is now an adult will never know, and will never ask his father as he approaches with the photograph in hand wondering his father was thinking about? In the closet that coat the father was wearing is still there, the boy now man tries it on, and for the first time in his life it fits. Somewhere deep down in this man child he fills like he was become his father, not the distant and strange man he knows as his father but that he is a man like the man his father is, or was, when his father used to wear that coat. There are bleach stains on the right shoulder, and the color of red the coat has isn't really in these days, still the coat is a coat, and a symbol of something becoming. The adult boy dons it with a vague sense of pride, it isn't just a coat, it is something much more, he tells himself he is close to his dad.
Up above stars shine, they are almost selfish how they can shine on even after the worst has happened on Earth to humans, and also the animals and dinosaurs, but they aren't because the truth is they have no idea what is going on down there, once their light leaves them it will travel for years before some animal's eye catches glimpse of it and it realizes that that little white dot is the same as that giant sometimes red sometimes yellow, sometimes white, and sometimes orange sun taking floating above like a balloon feet away are the same thing, one being closer than the other, and one being bigger than the other (most likely the one farther away).

No comments: