To my wife
by Barnaby Davis
If I asked you to imagine the universe you couldn’t do it. You’d try, maybe picturing gas giants spinning in the emptiness of space, rings glittering in the light of different suns; maybe the spread of stars in the night sky; maybe the freezing blackness of space itself. But you couldn’t get all of it.
The universe is just too big. It’s everything you can think of and an infinity that you can’t. Hell, even the mind doing the thinking is part of the universe, a crowbar trying to picture the box it’s locked inside. You can try to use analogies: ants and football fields, continents and atoms, but the mind rebels – takes a moment to grasp the scale, raises eyebrows, maybe curls the corners of its mouth, but then goes back to wondering what’s for dinner or noting we need more broccoli. It’s just too big.
It gets worse when you move beyond the physical. The universe isn’t just matter, it’s energy. It’s every puff of heat and every pull of gravity and even, when you think about it, every scrap of conscious thought and half-remembered dream and idle wondering. You may not find a molecule of mercy in the ground-up dust of creation, but it’s there nonetheless, in the mind of the one sifting the dust, searching for meaning.
I know that the universe is too vast to comprehend. That even the idea of comprehending it is part of the universe. I know that the sheer scope of burning suns, black holes that swallow them, the push and pull of inviolable physical laws, the thoughts of everyone and everything that has ever lived, even the movement of time itself, makes my concerns small and petty.
But I was still upset that you ate all the curry.