NOTES ON MARGINALIA
Our lives hang from the threads of subatomic particles. Decisions made by invisible forces, too large or too small to be seen, dictate blizzards, futures, life forms. In Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, Martin Rees points out that, were Einstein's cosmological constant to vary by an infinitely small amount, we would not exist. John Wheeler, the great Princeton humanist astronomer, has long maintained that a contracting universe is proof of cosmic structure, inferring a sort of destiny that shapes our ends, the shadowy force in the margins of the Talmud which in fact control the text - but just barely, marginally. Tom Stoppard's play, Jumpers, tries to silhouette the jump of reason which posits a god, if the definition of god is a sort of author's message, a sense of proportion, wherein we are not lost in, but found by, time and space.
The world unwinds from a blizzard the way Buckminster Fuller theorized that fire was sun unwinding from a tree. When we see our breath, the invisible underpinnings of survival become visible. Snow is a mystery made flesh, a deep structure visualized, the way electricity outlines unseen monsters in the film, Forbidden Planet (digressively, a concept leading to the Predator series).
Nature is constantly morphing its position, state, or form. Even rocks have metastases, where limestone recrystallizes. My poem, "Sublimation," deals with the similar phenomenon whereby vapor experiences a paramorphic change into snow, temperature being the catalyst. There is a Jules Verne novel where an entire ocean, poised on the brink of freezing, turns to ice through the catalyst of a dropped rock.
Snow here is a ripped pillow where the threads which keep the universe secret have frayed, due to just the suspension of liquids, a parallelism for the suspension of disbelief of the world must produce in anyone who looks closely enough.
December 17th, 2004