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if you stare long enough at the sky, you can see the cosmic background radiation.

i’m starting to think that the world exists as a duality, one side of which is the bustling world of the right now where cars whizz by and homework is due and we go to work and school and the grocery store, while on the other side the sun rises slowly over the empty streets and the right half of the sky is light while the other half is dark over the plane wing and the rays of sun blind you but not enough to stop you from seeing the picturesque landscape that makes you stand still even as you drive 80 mph down the highway and you can feel the universe expanding alongside your lungs. the second is the half we only catch glimpses of, during times when the first side lapses just enough to allow us to breathe.

in philosophy, German philosopher joseph pieper suggested a similar idea, of what he calls the “workaday world” in which we fulfill the common need, but sometimes, through philosophy and the pursuit of the final cause of reality, we can transcend this workaday world to the world beyond, “vis-à-vis the universe”. while my duality does not necessarily require philosophical pursuit of man’s final end, it seems to mirror pieper’s model closely in terms of human connection with the universe.

j and i watched the pixar movie Soul the other day, which is not only one of the best animated movies i have watched, but also carries a message that i picked up on even more watching it the second-and-a-half time around. while i took away the thought that perhaps i should look a bit harder for moments in life to appreciate, j found it sad in a sense, to see someone enjoying life and being happy without a care in the world. i wholeheartedly understood his point, given everything that has happened for both of us this year, and even years before, but for some reason i still found a semblance of hope within the movie.

a few days later, i was driving along the already beautiful 280 highway as the sun began to go down. turning around a hill, i was met with a picture-perfect view, complete with grassy rolling hills as an orange-to-pink sunset illuminated a shimmering blue lake. a feeling hit my chest as i gazed upon the sight before me (i was still paying attention to my driving, don’t worry), in which i realized i was experiencing a moment of content, gratitude, and spiritual connection to the world around me. for a split second, i was vis-à-vis the universe. it’s these moments of life: driving to the airport before the sun rises and the world wakes up, sitting amongst soft fairie lights and the stars in the cool summer night talking to a stranger who knows you better than anyone else, standing above a city in the cold night watching the glittering gold lights, driving home in the spattering rain and the howling winds out of Blade Runner as the headlights’ reflections dance along the barrier, watching the sun set against the flat rural landscape of California farmland as the sky fades from orange to pink to lavender to soft blue from left to right. if there’s anything to take away, whether its for j, a reader, or even me in the future, it’s to remember to take these offered moments of one-on-ones with the universe and experience them to the fullest extent. the world of the right now will always be there, waiting to be fulfilled, but the universe waits for no one.

- t

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