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Cosmic Boy

A memory. I was about 7. I know this because it was after we moved out of West Philadelphia when I was four (and I still remember the day, late Autumn, when we packed stuff into the red VW bug and left for the 'burbs) and even after I had started reading "adult" books on science. The kiddy books on dinosaurs were simplistic, so I went to the library and looked for greater detail on things that were in National Geographic's "Our Universe" that interested me. So it's after I started reading about things, but before I learned about them in school, so my theories on how science worked were muddled up with my over-fantastical notions.

I looked at the solar system (like most kids I knew the planets and moons, but had hazy ideas about how it all worked) and then looked at atomic structure. The circles that are often drawn to indicate the orbits of both electrons and planets seemed all too similar to me. Naturally I imagined they literally existed, too, since the illustrations never actually say that the lines are there for illustration alone. I said to my mom, "Mom, look. The solar system is like an atom. And I'm made up of molecules, which are clumps of atoms. What if the solar system is one atom in a molecule, and all the molecules in the universe just make up one gigantic Cosmic Boy?"

My Mom laughed and said, "Who knows? Maybe it's true. That's a very Eastern thought." I was puzzled by this and asked her what she meant by Eastern. "The philosophies and religions of the Far East, like Hinduism, are often about each of us being part of a larger whole."

I thought about that. The East? I looked at a map. What's the Far East? Well, as far East as my roadmap went was New Jersey; the Jersey shore. I'd been there in the summer, and didn't remember seeing a lot of mystics or hindus. But maybe they don't' go to the beach. I thought they'd want to, though - the beach is a very tranquil place (except Wildwood). For years, I imagined that New Jersey was a place teeming with strange religions and obscure philosophers; that it was a place very much centered on the cosmos and metaphysical thought.

Okay, that's not true. I just tacked on that stuff about New Jersey to get a laugh. Truth? When my mom said that, she just made me feel special, like some sort of nascent "Promised One".

Mom did that a lot.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
*beam* what a great story, daddy-o.
Jun. 15th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
I was somewhat older than 7 at the time, but I too mused that the Solar System was an atom with planets = electrons. I shared this thought with my father, who suggested, "Fluorine. Maybe we're washing someone's tooth."
Jun. 15th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
That's a cool memory.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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