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Averyt: Walking Space

08/13/12 5:55PM By Anne Averyt
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(Host) While South Burlington poet and commentator Anne Averyt admits to a fascination with black holes and dark matter, she is also intrigued by the mysteries of ordinary life all around her.

(Averyt) According to recent news reports, an international team of physicists has discovered what they call the God particle, the singular, smallest substance responsible for all else, the spark that may have ignited the Big Bang, the secret that unlocks the secret to everything.
 
Ever since Eve chose to eat from the Tree of Knowledge rather than accept the bliss of obedience, we've been dissatisfied with the ephemeral. We want explanations, we want to know the reasons why and our curiosity of mind is the story of civilization, our never-ending efforts to reach beyond, to understand.
 
"One small step for a man," Neil Armstrong said after walking through space to step on to the surface of the moon. "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
 
I must admit I have a fascination with space, with wonderful, imaginative words and concepts like event horizon, parallel universe, worm hole and dark matter. I'm especially intrigued by black holes that turn on themselves, swallowing whole stars, then spitting out the energy to create new life. Just as the humus of the forest floor nurtures growth on earth, so from the darkness and death of distant cannibalized stars comes the intense explosion of energy that eventually creates new stars and galaxies.
 
Perhaps most mind-boggling has been the "discovery" that we can't account for 95 percent of all matter. It's hiding out of reach, out of sight, out of touch, but we know it's there because it has to be - we need it to explain everything "else." Without dark matter and dark energy nothing else makes sense.
 
I applaud these efforts to explain existence, I find them fascinating. But then I also marvel at the simple yet complex beauty of a rose, the smell of lavender and the flight of a fragile winged butterfly. I'm filled with wonder when I see the intricate beauty of a newborn baby's hands and the weathered face of age, full of the beauty of years, of experience, of living.
 
Maybe scientists are in fact close to explaining how it all started, how we got from there to here and perhaps even where everything is headed. In the meantime, I'm just going to fill my life with as much of the mystery of living as I can ...
 
I'll fill my days with the awe of a pink and purple sunset over the lake, with the simple pleasure of strolling down a back country road. I'll savor the joys of summer in Vermont, the smells and sights of the ordinary that make life special, the sounds of quiet, the heart beat of contentment - the small steps that for me are just as important as the giant leap; I'll celebrate what lives around us and in us - without which we can't really understand all that looms beyond.
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