This Thing Called Infinity.
Then again, a very different sort of infinity may well be freewheeling
--Natalie Angier, "The Life of Pi, and Other Infinities"
Impossible to grasp yet I'm sure it exists,
sure as the fact that I won't be around by 2047--
which would make me a century old--
and my little grandsons close to middle age.
I know about infinity whenever I admire a passion flower,
feel myself pulled into its oddly perfect symmetry.
Or ponder snowflakes, shooting stars, and soap bubbles.
Scientists tell us there are different kinds of infinities--
some are flat, others hunchback, inflating, explosive.
Mathematicians are the real jokesters when it comes
to playing with the mind--how counting from 1 to forever
is somehow smaller than the set of all values
between 1 and 2, or as I used to ask my students,
take half of a half of a half and never stop.
Some notions of the infinite can rattle the nerves--
like the possibility there are many earths
and someone exactly like you or me
with a totally opposite or identical life,
or there are galaxies of multiplying gods,
planets that will never be at war.
And what about time? These last hours I count
in my brief life--the way grief can make time endless
and delight mere seconds which tickle and tease us
in unending supply. Old Man Pythagoras
was insecure about the whole matter--
deeming the finite masculine and good,
while infinity was feminine--both had to be
subjugated--as if either could.
I rather like being a woman who tries
to embrace the ever emerging infinite, especially
when it comes to love and my own unfolding
of wonder after wonder.