Saturday, August 27, 2011
It only happens every 10,000 years or so. We’re talking about a super-massive black hole swallowing a star. Beware of these dark spaces in the galaxy. If a careless sun strays too close it can be devoured and slurped, followed by radiation jet burps. No table manners. With the gravitational pull of a million suns, these holes can’t be taken anywhere.
Personally I seldom leave my neighborhood anymore. Many a time I’ve been devoured on the 405, sucked into a super-massive snarl and luckily spit out on the nearest off-ramp.
One fine morning about twenty years ago I became my own Sig Alert. I was driving to work minding my own business in the slow lane (my favorite lane) when a car to my left suddenly decided the next ramp was his destination. He swerved in front of me. In order to avoid hitting him I had to make my own ramp which turned out to be about 50 feet into the landscaping up a hill. I finally stopped in front of a tree.
A mile of cars had to slow down thanking God it was me and not them. When I resumed my place in the parking lot we call a freeway I heard myself reported as a spin-off causing a back-up. My fifteen minutes of infamy, sucked into the morning traffic news that grinds out flashes of sizzling tips to motorists of what to avoid in their orbit to nowhere.
A man is called to the personnel office. He is told that his job is now in Asia at a fraction of his salary. All the oxygen leaves this black hole of a room. The arc of his life has been violated. He hears nothing else but static and that he is now a fraction of the person who walked through the door. He is disappeared; sucked into a vast silence.
Or it might work the other way. Ecstasy, the word derived from being out of stasis. We fall in love and travel to another realm as if lifted by the orchestra of a million celestial bodies. We happily relinquish our grip. We are buoyed as if drawn in, inspired by a deep breath and returned to what feels like home, yet unremembered, a place of belonging, having been met.
A sun, the size of ours, in the constellation Draco is vacuumed into dark nothingness, a lamp extinguished in the night sky. The event is captured on film by our satellite observatory. Somewhere a fishing boat is trawling on a river with just an apostrophe of a moon overhead. Its navigation guided by a writer at his desk lit by a candle. The writer helps light the way and when the wick burns down who will guide the commerce of the world?
A life fully lived is dangerous. Growing up we leave Eden. We find our center and prowl the suburbs, the far reaches. We may get a glimpse of the black hole and risk getting close. In the approach we are enlivened the way a heart grows by being broken. Relationships, convictions, discovery of self are all a dare. To not voyage out or within is to shrivel. Better to leave a trace before our bulb goes out.