We sense we are loved by a wide variety of different things. People, for sure, but dogs, cats, pet mice and maybe even insects. My granddaughter has a stick like insect for a pet. For sure she loves it, and I imagine she believes it loves her back. Some sense that their favorite plants or trees love them back.
Our sense of being loved is usually reserved for the higher animals. I’m not sure if anyone affectionately cares for a slug or mosquito let alone a bacterium believing the concern is mutual. To think of being loved by a can of soup, a toaster or a brick just doesn’t work.
What about a cloud?
I’m not talking about loving clouds, because I certainly do. I spend a great deal of my time looking at the clouds forming over the Cascade foothills just outside my patio. They are one of my favorite painting subjects as the image above shows. I love them, but have not considered if they might love me back. Until now.
This thought comes through trying to integrate what we know from science and what religious belief teaches us through tradition and sacred scriptures.
What science teaches us about clouds
We know the clouds we observe are collections of droplets of water in the air. But, what is air? 78% nitrogen, 20% oxygen and small amounts of noble gasses, carbon dioxide and other molecules. What is water? Hydrogen and oxygen combined. Each of these are made of particles, with hydrogen the simplest. A hydrogen atom consists of an electron in the form of a cloud circling the nucleus of a proton and neutron. We go further. The proton consists of two up quarks and one down quark.
So, what are quarks? One of many elementary particles which means with current science we have reached bottom in how we describe matter. Particles are what we call these things, but we know that calling them particles is misleading. That orbiting electron is a long, long way away from the positive proton that holds it in orbit. A fly circling a picnic basket at the edge of football stadium describes the distance between nucleus and electron. That’s a lot of “empty” space. The electron is a wave as much as a particle. A fly is a fly, not a wave. Yet, the fly, like the cloud, consists of bits of energy moving around other cloud-like…