Shrinking Universe

My shrinking and my expanding worlds

As we grow older, our world shrinks. Eventually, those few steps between chair and bed, that physical world that others see as “us”, will diminish day by day. Of the countless contacts we had before, most of them are now virtual. Space and time become meaningless.

Yet, that endless palimpsest of images and memories that is our inner world continues to overlap and expand – our many “you”s to be re-lived at will are an expanding universe.

They say it is not the galaxies that expand and that there is no center to the expansion of the universe, where we as individuals are island galaxies. Borges on becoming blind was well aware of these two worlds, as he wrote of descending into memory, which seemed interminable to him. It was from that vertigo that he succeeded in extracting the lost memory, which shone like a coin under the rain, perhaps because he had never observed it, except perhaps in a dream.

Others too, as the years and infirmities pile up, turn to those never-failing mental images, more vivid now than before, as they strive to enchain the image transformed into word for future generations. One wonders when our species discovered the relationship between word and image and how they complemented each other.

As our physical being takes leave of our body, images transmute into memories and reverberate as echoes of the joy, the love, the hope they once embodied. Before long that final intangible universe gradually merges into the macro cosmos – our two antithetical worlds – fleeting and forever.

5 thoughts on “Shrinking Universe

  1. Erika Your description of this place at the end of aging is so spot on- exactly where I am now…mostly in my head. I’ll try and write something like your piece in response soon.

    Right now about to board a plane for LA to get my stem cell treatment. Fingers crossed 🤞

    Love J

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Ahhhh carissima Erika –
    Lucky & grateful to know treasure you.
    Shrinking & Expanding Universe indeed captures volumes of deep meaning and great grace
    reflecting on the wavy dance of life as an elder.
    I may love this as my all time favorite of all your writing and reading!

    Grazie di cuore & amore,


  3. Hello Erika. There are so many interesting ideas in this piece from you. I was first struck by your image of memories as an internal palimpsest (it seems obvious now but the thought was new to me) and then by the notion of these widening and expanding as galaxies do. A very thoughtful description, and at the same time imaginative. A pleasure to read.


  4. Hello dear Erika. “Dear” seems fitting, even though we’ve never met. Our mutual friend is Jhan Kold, and she adores you. Given the depth of “Shrinking Universe,” that seems fitting too. You’ve given such rich morsels to chew on and digest. “Before long that final intangible universe gradually merges into the macro cosmos – our two antithetical worlds – fleeting and forever.” Gripping and true. I am almost 77 and slowly losing my sight. I sense the territory of which you speak so poetically. How beautiful you are.


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