Published in  
April 7, 2023

Loss needs a new home

Think about it: the force of deep time, eons of uncalendared years - nameless and frothing at the turbulent edges of the cosmos - rolling on and on. Spinning and spinning. Exploding stars. Supernovae. Matter mattering. Coagulatory forces birthing planets and stellar bodies. The cosmos dancing though billions and billions of years in testy negotiations with the unspeakable. And then all that spinning arrives at the production of something tender: the papery skin of a seed coat. The stentorian outrage of a quasar detonation falling to its knees, gently, to protect a fragile embryo from adverse ecological forces.

I would argue that it takes more energy for the universe to alchemize the soft skin of a seed than it does to sprout a black hole. Perhaps the physics doesn't add up. But something about the mighty stooping to the delicate requires a different logic, a different way of thinking about origins and becomings.

Now consider how this exquisite production - the genius of billions of nameless years - is, in an instant, imploded and cracked open in the depths of the earth. You would think the hard-won victory of galvanizing unwieldy forces to produce something so ethereal would suggest the need for safety. Security measures of some kind. On the contrary, the very same universe that manufactures the textural equivalent of a whisper summarily destroys it in the heat of the loam.

Why does the universe do this?  

We hardly notice it in this way but loss is the most delicate creation of the universe. Its most exquisite art. A carrier bag of new fictions might pick loss up, moist and soft from the earth, and give it a pride of place among the war-exhausted narratives about how new things come to be. Loss needs a new cosmology - a minor gesture that touches the sapling in the soot of demise. Loss needs a new cosmology: not one that treats it as a deficit, something to fill quickly with a replacement. Not as sustainability - the disguised primal cry of the modern self for permanence.

Loss needs a new home. Suitably, one that wanders.      

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