Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
In 1971, I exhaled the first version of a children's story. It began with "In a moment of time, in a moment of space." It is entitled Circle of Fire. I was working at a summer camp as a "special events" counselor. Basically, I would take out a group of children into the countryside in which our facility was located and create unique moments with them. One day I asked the children to climb trees and make sounds of their favorite animal while safely ensconced in their temporary wooden homes. We had a grand time. When their cacophony of imagination had soared with the wind, I spontaneously created my story. Since that beginning, "Circle" has been through several incarnations, including living moments in my original theater piece, "Ice . . . a ceremony for the nuclear age." (1982, New York City.) The tale embodies all of the elements of that piece which is a performance manifesting the tidal wave of nuclear winter and regeneration.
I was reminded of Circle of Fire one evening while watching Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, speak with Bill Moyers about "dark matter". Dr. Tyson is an astrophysicist whose brilliance may only be surpassed by his passion for science. He lights our world. Dr. Tyson used the phrase "a moment of time" during the discussion.
For reasons forever unknown, my image of life was once again revealed. I think Dr. Tyson's attempt to tackle the mysterious definition of dark matter catalyzed a journey I had taken many times before. Dr. Tyson thought that dark matter was a misnomer, but rather "dark gravity" would better serve the scientific discussion. Dark gravity caught my attention.
Friends sometimes ask me about my view of reality -- the big 3D. I respond that I think of life as music infinitely manifested. That each perception of form has an essential chord that advances through an eternal progression of harmonies and dissonance. Yet, if your heart listens closely you can recognize the unique note that is being played. I don't know how long I have believed this, but it seems forever.
Dr. Tyson also spoke about the apparent contradiction of a universe that is constantly expanding faster and faster. He pointed out that one would think that gravity would slow that expansion, but the opposite was true and perhaps the force behind this expansion is what you can call dark gravity. At least this is my understanding of what he said.
Upon hearing those syllables, I traveled deeper into my mortality and came upon the image of realities bursting out of a universal fabric, song, represented by a boundless array of cosmic dance that ascends forever; and that these forms are forever transmuting, thereby creating parallel realities, each with its own essential music.
In the furnace of my soul, this idea is an elegant, seamless musical cloth whose sound we can only dream.
I know that there is one fundamental question regarding these concepts -- who or what creates the original chord? The "Big Bang," so to speak. I am not so concerned about this inquiry. I am in the infant stage of my passage, being immersed in the fluid miracle of life, in awe of immortal creativity. During my time, I have bathed in this moment of delicate transcendent mystery at the beginning and end of my life. The time in between found me engaged in passion. That overwhelming feeling separated my senses from the richness of existence just beyond a luminous curtain. As infant and old man, both of whom are wrinkly and limited, we share the ability to navigate wonder.
Leonard Cohen composed these enlightened words that strive for an answer.
I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
(Hallelujah, words and music by Leonard Cohen)
In a moment of time, in a moment of space . . . love is the maestro.
Photo by Richard Yandrick. Used with permission.
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