Ah, the Wonder of You
Dear old and new friends,
Today’s Haystack is from the beginning of a play whose opening lines inspired me years ago when I first read it, and I wish to share them with you my friends and readers. The play was The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds written by Paul Zindel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Read slowly and visualize these following words
Act 1, when from a darkened stage the voice of Tillie says,
“He told me to look at my hand, for a part of it came from a star that exploded too long ago to imagine. This part of me was formed by a tongue of fire that screamed through the heavens until there was our sun. And this part of me—this tiny part of me—was on the sun when it itself exploded and whirled into a great storm until the planets came to be.”
The stage lights slowly begin to increase.
“And this small part of me was then a whisper on the earth. When there was life, perhaps this part of me got lost in a fern that was crushed and covered until it was coal. And then it was a diamond millions of years later—it must have been a diamond as beautiful as the star from which it had first come.
Or perhaps this part of me became lost in a terrible beast or became a huge bird that flew above the primeval swamps.
And he said this thing was so small—this part of me was so small it couldn’t be seen—but it was there from the beginning of the world.
And he called this bit of me an atom. And when he wrote the word, I fell in love with it.
Atom…Atom. What a beautiful word.”
A telephone rings off stage.
So begins Paul Zindel’s play with poetic words that encapsulate the astonishing cosmic evolution of life. Pinch the flesh on your wrist, and say with wonder, “The elements of this, my physical body, were present at the Big Bang!”