By Lavinia Plonka
The dishes are done. The garden is prepped for the beginning of spring. My bills are paid. (OK, I had a little altercation with Charter, but we’ve reconciled.) I’ve even cleaned and waxed the wooden furniture that has been gasping for treatment for the last year. I tried to watch a movie, but it was so predictable and lame that even in my passive torpor, I couldn’t bring myself to suffer through to the end. What to do with the rest of my evening? Learn to knit? Re-organize my underwear drawer? Go on Facebook?
I decide to ponder. It’s what people used to do. Ben Franklin would sit in his chair with ball bearings in his hand, hoping that the moment right before sleep, when the ball bearings clattered to the floor and startled him, would provide an insight. Great thinkers have been known to sit and stare at the fire, or into a bucket of water looking for inspiration. Nowadays, we call it spacing out. Actually, that’s a good term, since this non-activity perhaps does create space in our heads. Maybe it should be called spacing in.
At first the monkey mind does its best to fill any potential pondering nook. The contents of my refrigerator re-arrange themselves into potential meals for the week, which leads to various shopping lists. I drift off to memories of conversations that meander into images of my childhood. One part of my mind can’t help commenting on the vividness of a particular argument I’d had with my mother as a teenager, which pricks my conscience even as another part of my mind justifies my argumentative nature, soothing any remorse with lines like, “You just know how to stand up for yourself,” and “No one should have to tell you what to do.”
Which makes me think of mother love, motherland, mothers as creators, mothers as nurturers. We call our planet Mother Earth, not Father Earth.
I start going back in time and space. Here I’ve lived 60 years, witnessed the “birth” of veganism, the internet, Dancing With the Stars, and I haven’t pondered the big birth: the birth of the universe. Our male dominated physicists call it “The Big Bang.” But if, as every religion and philosophy tells us, we are a microcosm of the universe, then shouldn’t it really be called The Big Birth? And if the Big Bang is the birth of the universe, then what happened to the Mother?
Some philosophers say that everything that exists was contained in the seed that exploded into our universe. Rom Rosenbaum wrote in a recent article in Smithsonian Magazine, “… we were all there together at the Big Bang… every particle in every human being was first given birth (Italics mine) when the Big Bang brought matter into being. The unformed matter that would eventually evolve into us was all unified oneness at the moment of the Big Bang.”
My first question, of course, is if the Big Bang gave birth to the universe, who’s the father? Is he running around the multi-verse trying to figure out which kids are his? Does our great mother have other children? All these mathematicians and cosmologists are hypothesizing on parallel universes, multiple universes, alternate universes, anti-matter universes. Heck, it’s simple, those are our siblings! Why, there are probably twins and triplets. There are problem children. Some children don’t turn out as planned. Is our universe a wunderkind or does it have issues?
Is our universe male or female? Since this is a woman’s magazine, let’s postulate that this universe is a girl. She’s 13.7 billion years old. I don’t know about you, but when I was 13.7, I was expanding in ways that drove my mother to distraction, not to mention my own confusion with my expanding breasts. There was a mysterious dark energy that seemed to engulf whole days of my life that I later understood were PMS and puberty. I look back on my teenage years and suddenly realize why I have such a fondness and fascination for super novas. My penchant for violent and spectacular explosions of energy got me grounded more than once. Even the concept of being grounded has its place in our universe, although I’m sure my parents were not thinking electrical energy when they confined my stellar blasts to my bedroom. Want to experience a black hole? Try talking to a teenage girl without phone privileges.
So if our universe is currently a teenage girl, what could her mother possibly be thinking? Is she a benevolent, compassionate being who patiently sits, waiting for cohesion? Is her hair on fire in explosive tendrils of gaseous galaxies? Perhaps the Great Mother is even now in conference with the absent Father, telling him that this teenage universe has no understanding of boundaries, she’s all over the place, she’s unpredictable and is definitely hiding some dark matter in her diary. “One minute she’s a wave, the next a particle, there’s just no predicting how our daughter’s going to behave!” she’ll wail to the universal father, who’s busy watching the big game: Two universes competing for the same time and space. Talk about fireworks!
With the recent discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle, physicists have begun to predict what they call the end of the universe. They have actually come out and called the universe “unstable.” You’d be unstable too if you had hormones raging through you as you tried to figure out which lipstick looked right on you and whether it’s the jeans that make you look fat, or you are just fat. They can’t calculate the exact date for the end, simply saying it’s tens of billions of years away. They predict that at that magic moment, according to Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, “A little bubble of what you might think of as an ‘alternative’ universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us,” He added that the event will unfold at the speed of light. Wow. My Mom used to warn me about guys like that. They appear out of nowhere, sweep you off your feet and then destroy you. Of course I couldn’t wait to meet someone so dangerous. But I guess our teenage universe will have to wait a few gazillion billion years to find out if Mom and Joseph Lykken were right.
When not chasing comets, Lavinia teaches people to discover their inner universe and how it functions via The Feldenkrais Method and The Creative Body. She teaches group classes and coaches privately. Laviniaplonka.com. Want more cosmicomedy? Visit CosmiComedy.com.