What descends through the center of radiance into light so completely that it empties into a well so remote that none in its fabric can emerge, revealing nothing except in absence, as if to humble fledgling presumptions of sight? Shell of unknowing, invisible creatures of the deep, each disappearing body of snow, fold this becoming cortex of time, our next collective memory, already an echo.
When chimera feathers fall.
Guards at the gate confiscating dreams demand our reasons for wrapping them to chests. Why this one? And this? But messengers, like so many winged creatures, are stunted in captivity, and we watched the feathers fall. With those forevers beyond language, how much of our time? Now muted by motion and moved, the assembly of permanent particles dispersed again.
The knowing unknowing of stormy hearts.
The Doctor says, look at these images, notice the noise and chaos at the heart, the lacy kinks of energy, bubbling near the buzz at the center.
A black hole with the mass of four billion suns.
What are these glowing filaments around it?
Each is a hundred light years across, the Doctor explains. Then leaves.
What does a body on this planet even make of a century of light years?
––rather, this body. I suspect cats already understand, along with whales.
In my case, there’s an instinct to set the idea aside, like I do with some mail I don’t intend to open. How about a cat’s eye nebula, or even the eye of Jupiter? Violent storm that it is, at least someone can point to it and say “there,” pretending to wear knowledge like a child playing dress-up in costume jewelry.
But there it is again, this veiled center, this electrical storm not unlike the beating of a heart, a sound we prefer to imagine as gentle and distant, a low murmur, like the now-dated images of galaxies as soft clouds of distant jewels and floating lights, swirling in slow motion like the mobile above an infant’s crib.
Inspired by (and borrowing phrases from) this article in yesterday’s New York Times: An Electrifying View of the Heart of the Milky Way
Regarding certain questions of form and matter, an old, wise one observes, beyond earshot, there’s no joy in what doesn’t exist. Meaning certain illusions, such as righteous selves, but these are too busy saving to hear. Who else is saving? There’s a dragon somewhere in one of those caves, guarding what some would call fortune, but there’s another myth.
Imagination is another thing, a vital series of high-powered lenses for seeing what the naked eye, long dulled by resignation, will commonly miss, especially in moments read as ordinary time and especially in moments of crisis, where matters of life and death are prone to changes of direction before reaching orbital velocity.
I wanted to know more, so asked. The wise one said, it doesn’t matter, and then waited until we were both done laughing. Then said, Beware hallucinations of rote perception. Sight without surrender is only illusion. Then we kept watch together until we were both done cracking up. Our eyes were wet when we parted, washed into a state of fleeting and magnificent clarity.
The observation, “There is no joy in what doesn’t exist” comes from Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation