Theosophical Path, September, 1938.
I was annoyed with myself for wasting that afternoon at the University. The Prof was lecturing on Light. The lecture was interesting; he was not. The diagrams which he drew were intriguing; but then he had an annoying way of turning his head and talking to the blackboard instead of to the class. And to make it worse the afternoon was vilely hot, and drowsy with the hum of insects.
I could only catch a word here and there, and my attention wandered. Evidently I was not the only one, because Bessie beside me whispered spitefully that the diagram looked like a migration of cicadas from the earth to the sun. And then she added as an afterthought that she hoped the pests on the trees outside really would migrate to the sun, so that she, Bessie, could feel more wide awake.
The glimmer of an idea impinged on my wandering thoughts. Migrations to the sun! Why not migrations from the sun! Rays of light traveling continuously outward from the sun in all directions at a speed of 186,300 miles per second! Did creatures of any kind travel on those rays; or were the rays like a high-powered train-service without passengers?
The Prof turned his head and said: "In the course of time, when the sun shall have exhausted its energies ..." I lost the next remarks as he turned back again to his darling diagrams. I felt sorry for the poor old sun; and I began to wonder whether there might not be a continuous return journey of light also - a kind of light that had lost its luminosity; if there could be such a thing.
Goodness! How was I to write up this lecture if I didn't get more notes? Why did the Prof have that aggravating way of saying um ah so frequently? "The determination of um ah this factor um ah is accomplished um ah by the allocation of um ah the um ah ... um ah ... um ah. ..." Bessie jabbed her pencil at a bothering fly, broke the point, and remarked viciously that the Prof's lines of argument needed continuous welding.
But he was a good sport. Before closing time he looked the class over with a twinkle in his eye and remarked: "Suppose we adjourn a little early? I am assuming that you are able to pay about as much attention as I could myself in similar circumstances."
I rested in a shady corner outside until the next and last lecture of the day. Somewhere not far away a nest of ants must have been swarming: the winged creatures were fluttering by scores into the corner of the quad where I sat. Having alighted, they ran about feverishly for a short time, and then with a few energetic wriggles dropped their wings, and searched diligently for a crevice into which they might disappear from the light of day.
Hundreds of the discarded wings had gathered on the pavement near by, and drifted to and fro in the fitful breeze. How lavish Nature is with wings, I thought, as I retrieved an ant that was regarding the neck of my dress as a proper place for its disappearance. We strive with all our might to make wings, but Nature creates and destroys them carelessly by thousands.
My thoughts wandered back to the lecture. Do magnificent unseen creatures wing their way outward on the rays of light from the sun? Perhaps some of them reach the earth, and discard their hampering wings like the ants! And then an awful thought occurred to me! Perhaps we are those creatures, and have dropped our wings and `dug in,' so to speak!
Well, what was the use of spending time on such wild speculations? I had taken almost no notes; and physics was my weak subject. A wasted afternoon!
Last Update : January