Thursday, October 6, 2016

Jack Pynesapp and Red

"You've got to jump off the cliff all the time, and build your wings on the way down. " - Ray Bradbury 

Stars

Red Pynesapp's real name is Andrea but everyone calls her Red. Maybe it's because of her hair -- not really red but more a strawberry blond - or maybe because of her last name; Pynesapp. Her Grandfather and her Father are both named Jack (you know like Jack Pine) and someone may have thought it cute to have a 'Red Pine' in the family. Or maybe it was just because of her hair.

 Red lives in Mayville with her parents; Jack Jr. and Gwen. She is an only child (so far) but she spends a lot of time with her Grandfather who is going through a second childhood (his wife; Marge says that he's still in his first childhood).

Red is about to enter 8th grade in Mayville Middle School -- "Go Hornets". She loves to run and jump and pretty much do anything outside so it makes sense that she play soccer for the Jr. Hornets. But it is summer vacation and right now she is lying on her back on a blanket in her Grandparent's back yard next to Grandpa Jack and Grandma Marge. It's 10:15 PM and completely dark except for the light from the billions of starts that fill the night sky.

Red breaks the silence; "Can you believe that some of those 'stars' are really whole galaxies?"

"I've heard that but it's still hard to believe." Marge said. "Do you know which ones?"

"Not really." Red admitted.

"There's the Andromeda Galaxy." Grandpa said.

"It figures you'd know." Grandma scoffed. 

"Do you know which one it is?" Red asked.

"No, I don't think you can see it this time of year - not till later in the season."

"It's funny, " Red said, "a whole galaxy of stars that looks like just one star to us. What if someone was on a planet circling one of the suns in that galaxy and they were laying on a blanket right now and looking at the 'star' that is really our whole galaxy."

"Right now?" Grandpa asked.

"Yeah I know, " Red laughed, "not right now. They would be seeing how we looked millions of years ago."

Red has always been interested in astronomy -- well, science in general. She is not afraid to ask stupid questions and say stupid things and she and her grandparents spend long hours debating things like time and space. 

"It's only time."; Grandpa laughed.

"But time separates everything."; Grandma added.

"But so does space." Red said.

"But space isn't absolute, " Grandma said, "you can move through space. Time, on the other hand, is fixed. Time is unforgiving. Time is the irresistible. Time is permanent."

"I don't think Einstein said that time was fixed - did he?" Red asked. "It just seems fixed. It's actually tied to space and energy and mass. They're all tied together in his big theory of relativity."

"Okay, point taken." Grandma smiled. 

Jack said; "You know, time is all those things but it's not impermeable."

"What?"

"I mean, it's not impenetrable. I don't mean that you can move through it physically. But you can still move through it mentally. With your memory and with your imagination. "

"Come on Grandpa, "Red scoffed, "Be serious."

"Maybe so, " Marge said, "but what good is that?  Like you say,  you can't move through it to any place you haven't been - really. You can't learn anything new.  You can't visit someplace you haven't been or someplace you cannot go to. Remember Einstein? Time and space are irrevocable linked. "

"Imagination?" Jack protested. "Imagination isn't governed by these laws. Imagination isn't limited by space, energy, or the speed of light. It's instantaneous. It can move at the speed of thought."

"Imagination is just you guessing about what something might be like. Or might have been like in another time. It has no direct link with reality."

"Really? How bout the Wright brothers? They imagined that humans could fly and now humans fly."

"They didn't see the future, they changed the future."

"What's the difference?"

"I thought we were talking about moving through time."

"Yeah, Grandpa. That works (maybe) when you're talking about the future but what about the past. What if you want to go back before memory? Like before recorded history, I mean like back to the age of the dinosaurs."

"You said it yourself, Red." Grandpa said, "That person laying on their back in the Andromeda Galaxy is seeing our world with dinosaurs roaming right now, this instant."

"Yeah, but that's them. I'm talking about us, Grandpa. How do we see those dinosaurs - right now."

"Yes, Grandpa." Marge smiled, "how do we do that?"

"You said that we can move through space, right? Well we just move to where those guys are lying and look up."

"Grandpa, now you're being silly."  Red laughed.

"Don't forget Einstein, Jack - dear. Don't forget that time and space are linked. It would take time us to reach the Andromeda Galaxy; a huge amount of time, and by then we'd just be looking back at ourselves, lying here on the grass."

"Hmm." Jack said.

"Hmm" Red sighed.

Marge smiled and the three of them lay in silence and looked up at the stars.

"Grandma," Red said finally, "what if we didn't have to move through space to get to Andromeda?

"What?"

"I mean, then we wouldn't be limited by energy and mass and time and space or any of these physical laws."

"How do you propose to do that?" 

"Like I was saying, " Grandpa interrupted, " using our imagination. "

"Well no, not exactly Grandpa." Red said. "I mean what if we were there right now; the three of us, laying on a blanked at night, looking up in the sky. With a really powerful telescope (you know we'd have to have a really powerful telescope in order to see the dinosaurs that would be here.)"

"So you're saying that we're there and we're here right now; this instant." Grandma asked.

"Yes."

"We'd have to be two places at the same time." Grandpa said.

"Yes, at least two." Red said.

"Yes, " Grandpa asked, "why stop at two. Why stop at anything? We could be everywhere at once."

"Sort of like God?" Grandma said. "We'd be omnipresent."

"I guess so." Red said softly.

"Well, " Grandpa said gaily, "if God can do it, I guess it can be done."

"But not by us." Grandma scolded. "We're not God, Jack. Shame on you for suggesting it."

"You're right, Marge." Grandpa admitted. "Let's get real here, shall we."

"Us?" Marge scoffed, "Reality? You're kidding, right?"

"Yeah Grandpa, you're no fun."

"Ok, okay, " Grandpa laughed, "so Red, how do you propose we -- non-Gods -- might pull off this feat of magic."

To be continued.






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