Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mothers Day and the Big Bang

Since college, I have subscribed to Scientific American. I know why. This is a periodical that is not like other magazines, covering Quasars rather than quick meals....Dark Matter instead of dating tips. Don't be too impressed with me. It is not out of some elevated intellect or grasp of complex scientific systems although the layers and layers of mystery in science and astronomy have always been fascinating to me.

No, it is about my Mother.  With Mother's Day coming, I have been thinking about her, and about the dog-eared magazine that I keep near my bath tub for my morning soaks. It is about freedom and choice, and how we defy our own limits. It is about what she taught me.

Like the night sky, it is all about the vastness of things.

I just finished an article called "Cosmic Dawn" in the April 2014 edition. Remarkably, it seems that our lovely universe, which banged into existence 4.2 billion years ago in fire and light and incredible power....suddenly went completely dark after only 400,000 years.....but just briefly.

In other words, the Cosmos took a short nap; just closed her eyes and dozed off for a 100,000 million years. Scientifically speaking, things had to cool down enough for hydrogen atoms to be able to form...they are like ice cream cones...they don't thrive in heat. With the hydrogen ice cream cones came cool, misty, darkness.

It was the long breath before the plunge, as Gandalf said...just imagine all that heat and fury suddenly going silent, dark, still. The dragon went to sleep and stopped roaring.

Gradually little stars began to form that began gobbling up the hydrogen (reionize) and the birth of our Cosmos resumed. You know the rest of the story....and it is a wonderful story indeed. The biggness of the Universe, the time frames, the power and force of destructiveness of creation becomes the picture frame for how I live with the mystery of an unknowable-undefinable-ironically available Higher Power.

So, back to my Mother. She did not READ Cosmo; read about the Cosmos. Fist to the sky in defiance, she fed her brain these mysteries as if to say..."You cannot tell me what I can know." Of all her qualities, loveliness, femininity, dogged individualism and intellect, I loved this most about her. She didn't think like other women. She read Scientific American, Omni, and any technical journal I would throw her way during college. Once I gave her an article on Psychotherapy and Quantum theory. It would put a hyperactive boy on candy bars into a dead sleep; literally bore a person to death.

Not Mom. She called me sometime later so excited; asking all kinds of questions....intelligent, deeply insightful questions about it.

She never did that about a new casserole recipe.

I felt such a bond with her then; I was proud and I knew that we were both different from other women. I don't have many good memories about her teaching me how to cook. She never looked at my report card, or (God forbid) darkened the door of my school for any reason, in fact, she was DOA during most of my normal childhood moments..

She was not a PTA mom. She hated that shit.....

She did teach me something more important. She taught me about the nature of God.

She showed me that reading and pondering over these big, oddly satisfying ideas would always deliver me to the doorstep of God. God in the vastness of space; God the scientist, the mathematician, the dreamer of big things.

To me (and maybe to Mom) God is just saying...."SEE? Isn't this thing I am doing really cool? It's a puzzle!" Honestly, this is what I really think God is.....a giant, immensely intelligent, impossibly and wonderfully complex, ridiculously unknowable....but perhaps lonely power....yearning for us to see. Mom was a rebel about God....hated church..loved Christ....loathed typical shows of faith.....but was a staunch promoter of grasping God in the little things....bugs, birds, flowers.....night skies. Maybe God just needs us to get what is up, the clasp hands and join in the journey of wonder.

I think she was on to something with the way she was thinking.

So, Happy Mother's Day Momma. Thank you for the walks, for the talks; thank you for teaching me to rebel and to challenge what I think I should be. Thank you for never minding if a little girl, holding her hand on a walk down to the river, made endless stops to squat and watch a bug or tilt my little head backwards and gaze into the vastness of the night.......................

And see.