Day 71. 161 pages, 58,131 words.
Have you ever seen the sky? Have you ever been up there?
I think I can safely assume that you haven’t. If you had, you’d know. Oh, lots of places have atmospheres. That’s not the same thing at all. Pssh, atmospheres. There’s only one sky.
The sky is so big, you can fly so far into it that you can’t see the ground. Not just because of the blurring effect of miles and miles of air, not because of clouds or anything like that. Nothing so prosaic. The ground underneath the sky is too big to hide. It’s beyond big. It fills the central plane of the universe from wall to wall, more or less. It’s a big that makes a mockery of the concept of size.
The ground isn’t invisible because of all the air between it and you at that altitude. The ground is invisible because the ground was only put there a mere couple of dozen billion years ago, and the light hasn’t reached you yet.
The result, the feeling of sitting in that primordial gulf and looking into the emptiness that preceded the formal establishment of the urverse, is … strange. You can see, perhaps, what the holy books mean when they speak of the formless void, of the madness on the face of the waters, of God moving across the deep. It’s not dark, as you might expect of a place to which light has not yet clawed its way (and may never claw its way; go far enough, and you’ll reach altitudes to which Judgement Day and the final end will come long before anything as paltry as light). It’s only the ground that’s a relative newcomer here. The sky was there all along, dreaming as it waited its monstrous aeons. It’s a yawning nothing, in the eye of which the entirety of creation is but the briefest of motes.
There’s gravity, of a sort, because when the first Infinite set the ground in place, it exerted its influence on the universe heedless of the slow crawl of light. It defies the limited understanding of gravity as born of cosmic contexts, the blinkered conception of space and time that is a requirement of linear sanity. But even the downward pull, at so-called pre-Word altitudes, is a strange and listless thing. You can feel the air move around you but it’s not a roaring plummet. You seem to drift. After all, if we’re waxing philosophical, what is falling if there’s nothing below you? Still falling, perhaps – but there isn’t exactly much urgency about it.
Sometimes I look up into our sky and wonder what might be looking down at us. When you look up into the sky, you don’t need to wonder. It looks down. There is nothing else.
Nothing else is big enough to register.