The beginning of things

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is tricky for even the craftiest of narrators to describe, because in the beginning there was nothing.

Well, there was something, because you can't make something from nothing, and at hand is the story of how everything came to be, that is, how all the world's somethings were made.

But the first somethings were only the light and the dark suspended in the middle of a nothingness. To be particular, they were suspended in a bubble, and the bubble was smaller than the head of a pin, and so it was nothing to write home about, as the people-animals say.

In fact, if starwalkers had been around at the time, they would have passed by in their rocketships and not noticed that the bubble was there. Even if the starwalkers had been teeny-tiny and to scale, like protozoa and bacteria and such, they would have seen a bubble-sized bubble and not noticed anything special about it, and not known that the light and the dark danced and sang inside, about to get the ball of life rolling.

I must add here, friend, that it is so very good no one was around to see the bubble in the beginning of things, for I doubt even a protozoon could resist the temptation to pop it, and if this bubble had popped prematurely, it is likely the universe would have been a small, boring place. The light and the dark would have not had enough energy to go very far, and the balance of things would have been changed, and the chemistry of the world would have been off.

Could you imagine a universe the size of the library upon the bridge in old North City? So very gigantic and full of possibility it would seem at first, but once you scaled all the balconies of reference, and climbed over the stacks of autobiography, it would seem a diminishing place, and the excitement would leach out quickly.

But our universe is endless in space and surprise, and anyone who ever complains of boredom is simply not looking hard enough.

Back to our bubble, and how long the light and the dark had been inside.

They had been inside a long time.

A long forever-time.

To be sure, friend, light was not the beginning, and dark will not be the end, for there never was a beginning, and there never will be an end. Light and dark had always been in their bubble, and now they will always be in the fabric of our cosmos, and it is no use wondering why.

Also: the light was not the day. The day is created by suns and the turns of the worlds, and none of these things had evolved from the stardust yet. The light I speak of was a speck of flame invisible to the eye, not big enough to illuminate your little bedroom, let alone an infinite universe. And that is why the elder stars gave it the name Alosida, the first hidden light.

Likewise: the darkness was not the night, and neither was it the absence of light. The darkness was a something cradling Alosida like a nest of sorts, giving her protection and a place to sleep. In this way the dark was the very foundation for all the worlds that would be, and this is why the elder stars gave it the name Elishodun, the first solid darkness.

Most importantly: the light was not good, and the darkness was not bad, and neither was the light bad nor the darkness good. Alosida and Elishodun simply were, and any morality they might have was invented by old people-animals who wanted to scare youngsters into behaving the "proper" way. But the truth is that there is no proper way of behaving, except the ways that allow others to live happily and without fear. So we might say, ironically, that it was the old folks frightening children with their stories who were the ones being improper.

But now I've started to lecture, and we must return to our tale.

Sitting in their little bubble, Alosida and Elishodun felt all the emotions of the world at once, and so they were joyful when looking out upon the nothingness, and they hummed happy tunes as if watching the sun rise over the Circling Sea. But as they hummed they were also sad, and felt the great heaviness of the void fall upon them. They were brave and pictured themselves breaking free from their bubble, but even as their excitement grew they were frightened, and sometimes they grew too much and accidentally bumped into the sides of the bubble, and when this happened they recoiled as if touching a hot stove.

In short they were confused, and so Alosida and Elishodun sang a song to help them sort through their emotions, just like people-animals might do when they cannot decide how they feel. Perhaps you have noticed that nothing can spring clean the hidden corners of the mind like a classic melody, and this is a lesson the birds learned long ago, which is why we now have such simple brains.

In the beginning of things, Alosida and Elishodun were anything but simple, and they sang and sang and sang, and their songs rang through the bubble in lovely harmony. This harmony created an energy onto itself, an energy bigger than the light alone, or the dark alone. The tiny bubble could not keep such a big-big energy, and so it burst, sending Alosida and Elishodun flying into the nothingness, very far out indeed, much farther than one side of the North City library to the other.

As they flew they were frightened and excited and happy and sad, and their voices, not knowing which sort of melody to sing, wove together the confused fabric of the cosmos. So finally in the universe there was a something we can write about—a something a reader might fully visualize: a tapestry of dark and light melodies. It looked a little like a patchwork quilt, if the quilt were made not of dull cotton scraps but of radiant crystal threads, stitched together with a smoky black netting.

And certainly it was much too large to be folded at the foot of your bed; rather it unfurled across the universal expanse, neverending to the naked eye, or even to the most powerful telescopes of the people-animals.

As wondrous as this tapestry was, we must remember that Alosida and Elishodun had woven it unwittingly, and so they were always hesitant to take credit. They had wanted to remain in the comfort of their bubble, and sing their songs, and when they were feeling brave they would have imagined adventures in the great nothingness, rather than actually have them. They would have been content in their bubble forever, living a safe, common life, but they were forced out, and it was only unintentionally that they fashioned the fabric that would support stars and worlds and comets and other such shapes.

And so it was that the universe was created quite by accident, and its creators would not have us think that they had meant anything by it.







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