9.29.2014

beautiful indifferent universe

Slowly, she walks by my side under a tar black sky, her blonde paws darkening with dew. It’s the biggest patch of universe I can view around these parts, skirted with white pines, maples and oaks all of a similar height. In the center of the sprinkling of stars, a swath of clouds is disguised as the Milky Way. Near the Northwest horizon I spot the Big Dipper, and above me is Cassiopeia, but I cannot find Orion, and I am at first vexed, then disheartened. For years now, in my fantasy, I've imagined Orion as Calvin's guard, rising over our house on clear winter nights, though I know there’s no such thing as a divine protector. I know because all I have to do is read the news about the shrapnel-hammered little Palestinian and Israeli children, the Kurdish children hacked into pieces with machetes, the sons and daughters dropping like flies from ebola, the Nigerian girls sold as slaves and raped as child brides, the boys taught to kill in the name of their God, the Sandy Hook Elementary School first graders gunned down by a disturbed young man who was once a child, the thousands of abused children, starving children, neglected children, diseased children, disabled children, chronically ill children—in my own country—little children like Calvin who are racked with seizures, some so severely that they don’t survive.

In the center of this vast grassy stadium, a ring of trees looking on, I can see our breaths as mist begins to hug the earth in pockets at the field's edges. I want to venture to its center where by day the athletes lope, out away from the glare of lights and the hum of air intake vents. But the harsh light grazes me no matter how far I go. Beyond the edges of the field I hear the drone of traffic but then I hear the night train whistling its orchestra of perfectly arranged notes and I think how artful the conductor must be, how he or she finesses the whistle into a crescendo like I’ve never heard before, and I am grateful.

I want the sky to be blacker, the stars brighter and more evident. Looking up to see the mass of them, knowing though not fully grasping their infiniteness, I feel insignificant and I think about other beings on other planets doing the same, as if looking through a window or perhaps into a mirror. Then I consider those who believe life exists only on Earth and I muse over such conceit.

Then, as I stand scratching Nellie’s head, I wonder if on those billions of other planets little innocent beings are suffering, ill, exploited, abandoned, murdered, and I dread the thought because it’s clear to me that the universe, though long ago set in sublime and beautiful motion, remains silent and indifferent to our pleas.

photo by http://favim.com

1 comment:

  1. absolutely beautiful writing! Thanks for sharing it.

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