Saturday, September 13, 2008

string theory

In my old age, I can't even take pictures right anymore. The above photo was a badly underexposed mistake: it was supposed to have been a nice, orange sunset over the calm waters of the Öresund at Lomma Beach, Sweden. Instead, it turned out looking like the end of the universe thanks to my selection of a shutter speed about three stops too fast. Oops. (2008).

I admit it. Years ago, I tried reading (the back cover of) Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time - supposedly a book about black holes, light cones and string theory - and, quite frankly, I didn't get it. You see, me understand physics no.

Still, I maintain that one need not be a Nobel-laureate physicist to understand the universe's critical dimensions of time and space. You just need to be old enough to comprehend that there never seems to be enough of either ... and smart enough to respect that this just is the way it is.

(Now pontificate that, Einstein!)

It's been another grueling week. I walk slightly comatose out of a four-hour (not physics) class and head for home by foot against the elongated shadows of the late afternoon light. This year, September has come too soon.

These days, I worry partly about the things I know but mostly about the things I don't. It might have something to do with this time and space, and wondering if maybe, by now, I should be somewhere else.

As I walk, I hear the pitter-patter of footsteps behind me, accelerating to a sudden stop. Kajsa, a Swedish girl I study with, tilts her head into the peripheral vision of my universe, and smiles.

"Hi," she says.

"Hi," I reply.

And sometimes, that's all it takes to throw everything into balance again, if only for a little while.


  1. Even if it was a mistake... it's got something alluring to it. Even mistakes can be beautiful. :o)

  2. Good point, Soho. I kind of like the picture too, in spite of the mistakes.