Thursday, November 10, 2016

What my parallel-universe self is doing today

You know the multiverse theory, right? The idea that we live in just one of a cloud of potential alternate universes or dimensions, each opaque to the others? I've been thinking about that today; specifically I've been wondering what one of my parallel-universe selves might be doing with her Thursday.

One of them, I hope, is in Saint Peter's Basilica today, getting up close and personal with one of the greatest works by one of her artistic heroes: the Pietà sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti. I hope that in a more placid universe than this, she's untroubled by the shouts and whispers of political upheaval, the cries of triumph or sobs of defeat or breathing out of threatening words against the Other.

I hope instead she's gazing up at the purity of white Carrara marble, chiseled so finely that in places you can see light through it; I hope she's taking in the sweet, sorrowing face of a miraculously youthful Mary as she cradles the cold, lifeless body of her son in her lap. I hope she's gazing in wonder at the exquisitely draped folds of Mary's robe, so perfectly realized that it's almost impossible to believe those folds are made of stone, not fabric. I hope she's only getting a little bit misty at the thought that, at long last, she is really here -- and here too, at last, is the object of supernal beauty she first developed a longing to see in person at age 17, in an inspired humanities class.

Perhaps tomorrow she'll visit the Sistine Chapel.

Well, I can hope.

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