We are each of us a little universe, he says.
I imagine atoms spiraling inside of us, so many galaxies, Carl, each one unique.
We mask ourselves in nebulas, reveal ourselves by those we pull into our orbits.
The sky holds so many stars, billions and billions, you say, all sharing the same
dark void. But still differences divide us.
The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition, he says.
Not all ambition is blind, Carl, not all desires bring drought or drones or death.
Most of us want just to breathe, to be useful in some small way. The universe
may not choose to sing along, but we continue the chorus, despite greed and hate
that chimes in every city. Listen to us down here belting out our hope.
The universe seems neither benign or hostile, merely indifferent, he says.
But indifference is an epidemic, Carl, each one of us mired in our own
black hole, unable to see a way out. The universe displays order –
the moon and its phases, the cycles of deciduous trees. If it can control
these things, why can’t it choose sides, Carl? We are desperate.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Have you seen it, Carl, this something incredible? We used to dream of alien
life forms, frontiers splayed before us in some sort of infinite majesty. But now
we’d settle for something simple, Carl, something merely credible: a world
where all of us, Carl –I mean, everyone –can shake off this veil of fear.
Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.
But Carl, even exceptions have exceptions. Dandelions, for instance, are
survivors, thirty million years in the making. Unwanted, they are sprayed
with toxins, dug up at their roots. But look at how children love them, Carl,
rub the yellow poms beneath their chins, inhale then blow seed heads to
the wind like little gods, knowing that, scattered, beauty will take root again.
The dandelions? When cut, they bleed, Carl, like the whole human tribe
of us, when all we want to do is shine.