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