Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Physics 101 and a Story

Shutting the old suitcase she hears the clasps click and lock. One hand folds around the handle and the other cradles her coat. Silently she stands staring at nothing. Her eyes learned long ago to close and see nothing even when opened. The sigh goes unnoticed save for the movement of her blouse. Quickly, she turns and heads for the door.

The phone’s ringing grasps her heart with the same grip that her hand held the door knob. Neither one will let go. Neither one will cease their current state-ringing and unopened. Perhaps it was the pounding of her heart that kicked the door ajar and she stepped out on to the front porch. The answering machine begins to play through the curtains of the open window. She walks back along the worn path in the carpet to the bedroom. Opening the closet door she sets the suitcase on the floor. It was empty, nothing to unpack. She just thought when you go somewhere you should pack a suitcase. Closing the closet door it occurs to her that maybe, since she never packed, that was why she always went nowhere.

Physics argues that no two physical objects can be in exactly the same place at exactly the same time. One must be displaced. The argument does not hold true to light. Certain forms of light can exist at the exact same place and time. Where we may physically, through our own will power or efforts, displace despair, negativity and fear with hope, wonder and courage, is it possible, that their lights will still overlap? Is that why even at the peak of joy we feel a touch of sorrow?

Our journeys and encounters, like the Canterbury Tales, bring about collisions of different emotions, descriptions of the promised land and home. Our happy moments are suddenly displaced with sadness, our positive attitudes become negative or our fear becomes courageous and our daily deaths, like dry bones in the desert, are resurrected to live again. And, could it be that all of these emotions and attitudes are the same? Seeing only the displacement or collision feeds our belief that nothing good ever lasts or could happen to me.

Could these varied feelings be nothing more than overlapping lights? What would happen if we saw them as the sky when both the moon and sun are awake and the moon’s darker colder light overlaps with the sun’s warmer brighter light? We call that overlapping a sunrise or sunset and stand in awe. What would happen if we saw the lights of emotions as dancing parallel, touching, parting and overlapping rather than the displacement and collision we fear? Would our journey be bolder, more daring and perhaps a bit softer with this acceptance? And in the silence of light, not the collision of displacement, what other voices could we hear?

Her hand upon the door knob absorbs its cold metal touch. The phone rings again, and again, her heart pounds. Ever the faithful companion, her heart once again kicks the door open. She stops. When the answering machine comes on, a smile walks across her face. She whispers, Hello, as I used to be, as I am and as I will be are not here at the moment. Please leave a name and number and I’ll get back to you. I’m sorry you missed my calling. She steps into dawn’s light with nothing in her hands but what she chooses to grasp.