Malcolm Taylor

In Dirac’s awareness, the creativity that shaped the universe was now beholding itself, astonished by what it saw.He glanced down at my empty glass and lifted his eyebrows in question.He had returned to his conversation with the man and woman at the end of the bar.In the loud music, with the purple haze bathing me front and back, I stared at the torn paper napkin with Paul Dirac’s mathematical symbols scrawled on it, now a bit damp and torn at the gamma matrix.The bartender came over and I handed him the first bill from my wallet.He reached into the side pocket of his black apron to give me change, but I gestured with my hand that the rest was for him.He smiled and nodded his head several times in thanks while continuing to gaze into my eyes.Perhaps I had given him a large amount.He picked up my empty glass, scrunched the napkin, and tossed it into the trash can with a black plastic liner.I stood there in a stupor, floating in the awareness that I too was flashing forth instant by instant.Dirac’s equation would now soak up juice from discarded slices of lemon and lime.Just a glimpse, and now collapsing back into chaos.Would the same happen with my feeling of floating in a sea of potency?Would I toss that out?Would I unknowingly collapse my mind back into thinking of the universe as a collection of objects?Out on the sidewalk I saw that the snowfall had grown heavier.The windshields of the cars parked in front of Knapp’s were smothered with fresh powder.I pulled the back flap of my hat down to block the cold air.Using only my left hand, I pulled the red muffler out of my coat pocket and wrapped it twice around my neck.At Proctor and 21st Street the light was red, and although there were no cars in either direction, I stopped out of dutiful habit and stared at it, waiting for it to turn.It reminded me of Christmas.When the red light went dark and the green circle lit up below, the light was luminous, surrounded by falling flakes of snow.The lambent green shone directly into my eyes but also arrived reflected by the flakes of snow that swirled gently about the streetlight.Tears welled up in my eyes.Something soft and warm, maybe it was love, swelled within me.Everything was perfect.Denise, Thomas, my family, the snow, the mysterious greenness of the light, my students and colleagues, Tacoma disappearing into a deep sleep under the snowfall, the professorship with the University of Puget Sound, the undeserved gift of a lifetime devoted to stalking the magic of thought and mathematics.All this joy ignited by nothing more than a traffic lamp with its little metal cup.I was dwelling in fullness.The green light was twinkling inside me after passing through quantum fields that had yawned open and released a flood of quanta.Richard Feynman, one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century, was so fascinated that the photons knew the optimal pathway.What did he call it?That the light rays knew his calculations even better than he did because they sniffed out, from an infinity of possibilities, the unique path that minimized the action.He didn’t think photons had noses.It was his gesture toward cosmic intelligence.He used sniffing as a finger pointing to a galaxy.My mind’s understanding had been off.This was not a universe of inert objects.That had been my assumption.The Tut exhibit had broken that.The origin of the universe was fourteen billion years ago, and here, now.Giving birth, even to my lips, even to my experience of my lips, giving birth instant by instant to the universe.By blinking, I smeared the tears of my eyes into my eyelashes.Now the streetlamp was weeping too.A smile spread over my face.I had taken a small step.I was only in the shallows, but it was all I could take.If there was more, I didn’t even want to know about it.I was bursting with all the energy I could handle.The curators for the King Tut exhibition innocently assumed they had locked their objects in display cases.The laws of the universe would not allow this.It was not possible to fixate any thing.It was not possible to locate one star simply here, another one there.The universe was not a conglomeration of inert things.Each entity was a coiled energy about to soar forth to share its being.I could not say what this meant.I only knew that, one way or another, sharing this with the bright young students at the University of Puget Sound was what I was here for.President Phibbs, in his quest to transform the University of Puget Sound into the Harvard of the West, persuaded the board of trustees to invite professors to propose new and exciting courses for a common core curriculum.The chosen professors would be released from a full semester of teaching in order to develop their new courses, a rare opportunity in a liberal arts university.To decide which of the proposals would become a trustee course, the board gathered for three days of deliberation on the shores of Hood Canal, one of the western branches of the Salish Sea.Professors shuttled in and out and made their presentations.My own time slot was 4:00 p.m.This included missing the turnoff.Driving beneath the shelter of limbs from the forest on both sides of the road, I overshot the lodge and had to circle back.The sign with its muted lights and carved wood made it clear this place had been designed for the rich.The curved pathway from the parked cars to the resort had been laid down with small white stones that crunched under my step and were so perfectly round I wondered whether they were natural or synthetic.Two massive logs supported a breezeway to the main entrance.

Malcolm Taylor's job listings

No jobs found.