Once somebody failed to clean out the lint trap at the bottom of a black hole. Although the trap’s size made the likelihood of galactic conflagration on the order of a launderette fire raised to the nth degree thankfully remote, the collection of odds and ends wedged together in that lightless void was astonishing. Entire worlds of belief, once presumed indestructible, lay in tatters there. As did the remnants of proud civilizations that flourished one after another and considered themselves the zenith of an unshakable order but now looked more like crumpled party favors in the jumble of time. To say nothing of the faded poseurs who’d counted on never being forgotten and now were barely distinguishable from stray wads of dark matter. In the frigid emptiness of the black hole, it wasn’t just real and claimed accomplishments spinning wildly towards their obscure end. Thought itself was robbed of light, pulled ever deeper into the vortex of oblivion that denied even intellect an escape. But shouldn’t it be that way? If you separated the mind from the whirl of all else, placing it in some “delicates” cycle apart from the urgencies of the universe, then a rough tumble at whatever speed was doubtless in order. Give the whole load of worn ideas a good whirl on occasion. For that you must be prepared, though, for life to shred everything you may have held dear right before your eyes. Accepting reality on its own terms, black holes and all, required the courage not to turn from it into either wishful solace or self-pitying cries when the truth of the forfeit was revealed. That too must be thrown into the spin if the moment came. Yet who was strong enough to bear such a demand without flinching? Loss of the assurance that one stood at the center of space and time, like a sun in constant rule of whatever orbits it imposed, wasn’t the only care. Nor the greatest by far. It was giving up the flicker of warmth left in the slightest human contact as hope neared absolute zero, the last attachment to what was inevitably doomed by any objective reckoning, that so few could face. Which might be reason enough for not emptying the trap at the bottom of a black hole every now and again. Reason enough.
Copyright © 2007 by Geoffrey Grosshans