Reading “The Big Bang” takes me magnificent places. Ridiculous. Jaw dropping. As I turn the pages I am sucked in completely, gazing spellbound–as if at a cosmic movie screen– at our rich, mystery-sated heavens. What a drama unfolds before me! A tale strewn with unlikely geniuses, collapsing stars, far-flung atoms, electromagnetic waves, embracing galaxies, eloquent equations, gold-spewing supernovae, wormholes, invisible bends in the plane of spacetime–all of these and more form and unform against a background of deep-forever space. I watch, rapt, struggling to comprehend.
Then I return to reality. And am presented with…
Walter. My cat. Mystery-sated as well, in his own quotidian way.
Walter strews quite a different material around the universe. Our universe. Pom poms. Red ones. He is addicted to them. Obsessed. He seeks them out. He finds them, wherever they are. He performs un-catlike feats of fine-motor agility to secure their possession. Once acquired, he hoards them in the prison of his teeth. He torments them. Finally, he systematically destroys them, rendering them eventually unrecognizable as the minor crafting aid they once were.
He does not care for yellow ones.
He does not care for blue.
Red pom pom innards line our life. They are ubiquitous–the dark matter of our domestic world. Everywhere an empty space is, they are.
I consider the grand sweep of the universe. The heartstopping vastness of it. The profound beauty of its laws. The implacable pace of it. Its stillness. Its remaining paradoxes.
I consider red pom poms.
And messes of all kinds.
I struggle to comprehend.
And I set down my book. I have cleaning to do.
Those things are a bitch to vacuum up.