The New Cosmic Story
Posted: 29 Nov 2022, 20:42
She’d grown up in a trailer court in Sumner where her parents still lived.When the voice on the phone told her the size of her annual stipend as a graduate student, she asked them to repeat the amount.I don’t deserve it. She shook her head gravely.I really don’t. I offered some stilted conversation to celebrate her achievement.I wanted to affirm her hard work and her brilliant mind.I couldn’t have done it without you.I hardly knew what I was saying.I was trying to get through the moment so that she would go her way and I would be released to the vodka.What university? I asked.I can’t decide!Your fellowship is not from a university?That’s the coolest part!I can take it wherever I want.Isn’t that nifty! Her eyes gleamed.She took another bite of the donut, still watching me.Who is the award from? I asked.Dow Chemical, she said, her mouth full of donut.Without any sound, something broke.She waved a shy goodbye and skipped away, shaking her red curls, celebrating the spring day.This was what Dolores wanted me to see.It was right in front of my eyes.I taught science to children so they could poison the planet.All those years of study, all those decades of learning, all of that used to turn Oona into a tool.Not out of malice, only ignorance, pathetically ignorant of how my actions in the world revealed the true meaning of my life.I had been so certain she was wrong.Dolores, the cynical one.I, the sunny person of faith.She had predicted it all.Dow Chemical had hooked its talons into Oona.Standing there on the sidewalk with apple blossoms under my feet, immobilized, I stared at the flesh on the back of my hand.I had no idea what I should do.Sit down and hope the pain would go away?Ask Denise to take me to the hospital?There was nothing unusual about my hand.The Sun’s light was warming my skin.I had never once stopped a moment to reflect on this miraculous event.Human skin had the power to transform the physical photons of a star into something nonphysical, my experience of warmth.These science facts I’d known since high school, but I’d never lived in them.Detonations in the Sun a hundred million miles away were striking my skin with its black hairs.The Sun, in my skin, transformed into experience.But Earth itself was forged out of elements created by a previous star, a star that had ended its existence in a supernova explosion that sent its elemental creations screaming into the Milky Way where they condensed into our solar system.That previous star, unnamed and unseen, had constructed the elements composing my skin.I felt warmth from one star, and the gift of existence from another star.I was not separate from this process, having this experience.This awareness was in between two stars.Denise convinced me to go to Whidbey Island to be sure of my decision.In his welcome note, Fritz indicated that I was to stay in Bag End, a small cabin at the southern edge of Chinook.As I read the opening paragraph, it felt as if I were reading something I myself had written.Except that the understanding behind the words was far more comprehensive than my own.Here was a person who seemed to know all the important things I had discovered and much more.He spoke of the music of the universe.He spoke of cosmic creativity.He spoke of the universe haunting us.I read straight through as I stood in the library of the farmhouse.My own feeling is that we need a complete change to a creation mystique.Adaptation of the cosmological myth born of scientific understanding and openness to the forces governing its unfolding evolution constitute our greatest challenges.My mind was combustible matter that his words set ablaze.I had never heard that phrase before.Even more penetrating were cosmological myth and new cosmic story.I did not have any sure hold on what these might mean.What I knew beyond doubt was that my destiny was tangled up in those words.