Saturday, October 8, 2011

Through Us

Without it our Galaxies would not exist. We cannot see it. It is beyond our senses."I said "It passes through us, constantly. Dark Matter is at the edge of our ability to perceive, yet it holds our Universe together.” Rowena had been worried about me, and so had Ella, and I struggled to explain what had been on my mind. Rowena was driving me home after a long day at work. It is good to sit and collect and share my thoughts with her and Ella. “Tell me, Angel,” I asked my daughter in the back seat. “Does this sound crazy to you?” “No DaDa" She replied. “It’s like ghosts.”


Something formless yet complete,
existing before heaven and earth.
Silent and limitless,
it stands alone and does not change.
Reaching everywhere, it does not tire.
Perhaps it is the Mother
of all things under heaven.
I do not know its name so I call it "Tao."
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Circa 350 BC 


My friend David Nickell told me so many years ago, “Thoughts have their own form and texture. They can be beautiful to hold.” The sheer beauty of this thought, the leap of faith it takes to grasp it, had been an epiphany. I try not to mix concepts of science and spirituality, but if I had ended my roughly paraphrased definition of Dark Matter “This is the spirit that flows in the universe; the love of God,” the biggest difference would be that more people would believe it. War has raged between Religion and Science since "On the Origin of Species" was published. Meanwhile Science is growing and our Universe grows with it. Every time we add a sense to the five we were given, like the ability to see beyond the visible spectrum, the universe gets broader and older, and my sense of holy awe grows. For me what I know about Science and God are very similar, I have read books about them, I have felt and seen their creations, and they fill me with Wonder. I have been walking this Earth for half a century and at times I can see - Everything is just one thing. It is a beautiful thought even if it is hard to hold.


“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. “ Albert Einstein
It was like that second between the moment your toddler falls and the crying begins, the long intake of air and then a moment of silence.  As I pulled down the plywood panel of the attic ladder a desiccated mummy of a frog fell from the ceiling and skittered to a stop at Ella’s feet. She screamed a long heartfelt howl. Questions poured through her tears. “How did it get up there? What happened to it? Why did it have to die?” Her mother and I had no answers; this is the first time either of us had seen a dead amphibian plummet from a ceiling. Because there were no answers she repeated the questions, her eyes imploring us for the solace knowing might bring. “All we can do now is give it a proper Frog burial,” I said, wrapping the nearly weightless shell in a small piece of tissue paper. While Ella held her mother's hand beside our water garden, I gently placed it in the soft mud by the roots to the lily I lovingly call “Legs”. Light fell from the stars as we stood together wishing the little creature farewell.

A week later I brushed aside the lily pads anxiously looking for the first flower. I had been waiting and hoping for weeks and there it was, not two inches from the burial site, a tiny bud barely the size of a robin’s egg. Also there, clumps of gelatin globules with tiny black dots in the center. As the bud grew so did tadpoles. The flowers of water lilies open with the sun and close at dusk and as they do they rise and fall in the water. Their long stems are red unlike the yellow green stems that flow from the roots to the pads. They are alive, they move and grow. Lilies are born in water like the frogs and breathe air as well; both draw life from the same source. As I sit beside them in silence I see how little difference there is in everything that lives. Life flows into the garden, and life flows out. Life flows through everything.
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” Buddha
Froedrich Frog jumps back into the water with a delightful tiny splat as I drink the last drop of coffee from my cup. The water garden is just outside the bedroom window and I heard Ella call for her mommy twenty minutes ago. I hear laughter, snippets of morning exclamations of wonder and it is time for me to join them. Ella rests in Rowena’s arms like her mother is a living arm chair and as I come around the foot of the bed they playfully roll over on their side to face me. Sunlight through the window behind me lights their faces with gold. They both seem to glow from within, but in the deep brown of their eyes concern for me lingers. Perhaps I should be smiling, or laughing, but what is the appropriate expression for the living when they stand before the gates of Heaven? This moment has been waiting for me since the expansion of the universe and I am grateful to finally arrive. I am grateful for the stars whose explosive demise created the materials that formed the vessels for this Family’s soul. I am grateful for all the beauty and glory that creates the pretext for what we share. I stand here in awe of all those that have given their breath to the knowledge that is the basis of my thanksgiving, because of them I know; the most powerful force in all of creation exists at the edge of our ability to perceive, holds our Universe together, and passes through us constantly.