Saturday, April 2, 2016

#SOL16: A Nanosecond Gone

Counting (M.A. Reilly, 2010)

"When Albert Einstein married space and time in his theory of relativity back in 1905, he taught us that our eyes are time machines. Nothing can go faster than the speed of light, the cosmic speed limit, and so all information comes to us, to the present, from the past...The light from the center of the Milky Way, hiding behind the thick star clouds and dust lanes of Sagittarius, takes 26,000 years to get here. While it was on the way the first primitive ice age villages grew into skyscrapered metropolises. Your lover, brushing your lashes with his or her breath, is a nanosecond gone"  - Dennis Overbye, From NY Times, 4.1.16.

Less than a month away from death, Rob took note of the announcement of the existence of gravitational waves telling me about it as soon as I entered his hospital room. I wish I could recall more of what he said that day as somehow he connected this announcement with the presence of
multiverses. He would tell me at another time that he thought heaven found its expression in the slippages between and among parallel universes.

We took time that day--a day after Rob's oncologist told us that his cancer was now terminal--to listen to the recorded waves. The sound was hauntingly beautiful, reminding me of recordings of whale songs I listened to decades early. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime. They are caused when a massive object, like a black hole, is accelerated. The waves detected recently happened when two black holes collided 1.3 billion light-years from earth. The detection of these waves was captured by LIGO observatory which relied on sound rather than sight to detect this cosmic happening.


Almost two months later I am wondering about what Rob might have been on about that day.  I am thinking about how our conventional concept of time is so incomplete, especially when we consider spacetime.  I am thinking that being open to other ways to know feels like an object lesson here.

I like to think that in another space, another parallel universe, Rob lives and what he wanted me to learn that day was that my job was not to follow the metaphorical breadcrumbs,  but to live well.

Right, now.


No comments:

Post a Comment