copyright 2011 by Matt Posner
Permission is granted to reproduce /post online for academic purposes.
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Music of the Spheres
I woke up early. Goldberry was still sleeping. Her forehead was lined, and her lips were twitching. Perhaps a bad dream.
I was still in last night’s clothes, but there was a blanket over me. I got out of bed, a little wobbly, and left the room as quietly as I could. Wandering toward the dining room, I suddenly found myself going down a different hallway, the one that led to the meditation hall. One of the double doors was open. The candlelight within cast lurid flickering patterns out into the hall. I went in.
Someone was sitting in the front pew. I went a little closer and saw that it was Maestro Morgan. “Good morning, Simon Magus,” he said without turning.
“Good morning,” I said. I sat in the next pew over, on his left.
“Consider the music of the spheres,” he said. “Johannes Kepler wrote on the subject. The volume is not generally known, but I read it while studying in Vienna. Music as we generally think of it is the harmony of sounds. But there is a music to the ways of the cosmos. Every planet, moon, star is fitted within a celestial pattern. Do you understand, Simon?”
“Not really,” I admitted.
“In science, in the outside world, they now talk about chaos. They say that some actions occur at random, but they will still try to tease out the causes for things.”
“Like in Jurassic Park,” I said. That was familiar.
“I have never been to that place,” he said.
“It’s a movie, Maestro.”
“Ah. Well, what I am trying to say is this: there is no disorder. Nothing occurs that does not have its counterpart in another event. All is in harmony. It is only that man cannot see some forms of order. But the movement of celestial bodies reveals the design.”
“You mean like astrology.”
“True astrology,” he said. “Not the tripe in the newspapers. True astrology is a pattern of infinite complexity. Do you know anything about atomic theory?”
“I’m just thirteen, Maestro.”
“This is no time to be thirteen,” he said. “I wish you were older. But there is a harmony, also, in atomic theory. All matter – all physical objects – can be broken down into smaller and smaller parts. As science adds skill, smaller parts are found. Molecules; atoms; protons, neutrons, and electrons; gluons, quarks. Always they will find smaller parts, but they can never find the smallest.”
“Because there is no smallest. Imagine the largest star that ever existed. Could you see it?”
“If I was far away I could see it. If I was close, it would blind me.”
“Quite so. Now, multiply its size by a hundred. Now can you see it?”
“I’d have to go even further away.”
“Will a time come when the star grows so large that it cannot be seen? When you cannot go far enough away to view it in safety?”
“If… um. It would have to fill up the whole universe, right?”
“Yes,” said the Maestro. “And yet it is believed that the universe is without limit. It is infinite. It must be, for, think: if you reached the end of the universe, like a wall, then what would be on the other side?”
“There is nothing except the universe,” I guessed.
“So you cannot imagine a limit to how large a star can be, because there is no limit to the universe. Thus there is no limit to how large any object can be. Do you not then see that nothing can be so small that it cannot be seen?”
I thought about this. It was very hard to understand, but the peaceful room made thinking easier. “No, I don’t get it.”
“There is no limit on hugeness,” said Maestro Morgan, “so there is no limit on smallness either.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Yet it is so. The very large and the very small are in harmony. Each balances and enhances the other. Let us suppose that an atom is the shape of a solar system. Why? Because the great and the small are governed by the same forces. In the stars, you see these forces at work. But astrology can always become more precise. More influences can be found. Mastery is impossible. Discover a principle, and it leads to a dozen more. The Cabalists also know this, and it is part of the Talmud as well: always more to learn. Furthermore, some matters can never be understood; but then, some are so frighteningly right that they cannot possibly be accepted. In the life of a magician, these frightening harmonies are ever more common. And harmony in the universe is not constrained by time.”
“Which means what?”
“It means that events can be bound to each other despite their separation in time. There is no rule to say that an event today cannot cause an event in the past.”
He had more to say, but I couldn’t handle any more. “Thank you, Maestro, but why are you telling me this?”
“You are deeply shaken,” he said. “But you will tell no one the reason. We cannot help to confront what troubles you. Still, we can help you to become able to face it. They say time is like a river, always flowing forward, ever changing. Not true. Time is a wind. It goes in all directions, this way and that, moves many things, leaves others in place. A wind may carry you forth and back again.” He tilted his head slightly. “But I hear that another guest is coming. You must excuse me.”
I left the great hall. There was no one there when I came out, but after I turned the corner, I heard footsteps from where I had just been. Soon Maestro Morgan would start again with another student. I went back to my room to wake my partner for breakfast.
About Matt Posner
As the child of classically trained musicians, Matt is a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York's premier avant-garde multimedia club band.
Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, as well as SAT preparation. He has an active channel at youtube dot com called schooloftheages and regularly posts to pinterest dot com backslash mattposner. His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.