Before Jupiter

Before Jupiter the universe is bathed in a violet hue, the humming of the longest wavelength to our visible eye. except there wasn't any light because the sun wasn't born yet, or the sun was born but hadn't learned how to fuse hydrogen and helium so we saw in different ways, without light and rays. I am a particle of dust, destined to be part of the rings of Saturn, but that won't be for a few billion years. But I was there before Jupiter and I will be there after, most likely.

But what was it like before? Grandfather Jupiter is the largest planet and seems to stop other planets from growing larger. So before Jupiter, particles could gather and grow uninhibited. They would expand and expand until there was no universe and only planet and eventually they would pop! and scatter all of that growth throughout the universe, sprinkled seeds across the blanket of galaxy. And this went on for some time and many of the dust particles grew frustrated because they felt that they invested so much time into growth just to be popped and scattered a couple million years later, which isn't that long for us, mind you. They wanted to be part of something bigger, something more meaningful.

So a council was organized. And organizing the council took much time, much arguing and deliberation. So many personalities and ancient slights to consider. But eventually, through mediation and to be honest, a few bribes, the council assembled. Anyone who wanted to could serve on the council, it should be said. We knew who was honest and fair and who just wanted glory and accolades. And we saw the ones who worked diligently and had lent a helping hand during trying times. So we listened to the ones we trusted and shielded ourselves from those we didn't. And the untrustworthy ones would often leave the council, realizing they needed to repair relationships before becoming a decision maker. We helped those ones by giving them small tasks and providing to us that they were true to their word. And in this way, we became stronger.

The council felt themselves changing too. They were building something that felt different this time. Not expanding just for the sake of expansion; they were building something for the future of dustkind and each of us, in our own way, contributed to this growth.

And just by virtue of the council coming together, bringing their energy towards one another, the winds began to swirl in different directions. By virtue of being near one another, collisions that had not yet happened began to happen. New threads connected us.

So the council called all the dust together, asked us if we wanted to build something. Not everyone agreed. Some liked to be alone. Others feared stagnancy. Others couldn't make sense of what was going on. Others feared change. The council (and all of us) listened to each fear, each concern. We did not give solution nor assurance. We listened carefully, let emotion spill out into the vast violet world. After naming our fears, we felt lighter. Buoyant, even. Though the fear remained, they realized they too would like to be part of our project. They traveled closer to the council.

And a curious thing happened. The fears, worries, anxieties formed bubbles of helium gas. And this gas was so light, so effervescent, that it gravitated towards us. We began swirling, accumulating more gas and dust as more joined us. We swirled faster and faster, our community of dust holding tighter to one another. We held tight and began to dream. We told stories of what this swirling would become. The youngest ones had the best ideas. And their ideas mingled with the wisdom of the older ones and we wove together the story of us, the story of how we came to be. And after many, many, years, we came to realize that we had become something.

We became Jupiter. A gorgeous gas giant made of fear and hope and cooperation across eons.

But all was not as it seems. Though we celebrated our accomplishment, a fraction of the council wanted all of the glory for what we had accomplished together. A splinter of them began to meet in secret. They wanted more. They wanted to grow larger. While we celebrated and threw feasts (mostly helium-based, which would become the ocean of Jupiter) the council schemed and plotted. Why not become the solar system? Why not grow to encompass all? They glowed red with power.

We grew concerned when they appointed their sons to their positions and threatened them with compliance. To threaten goes against our way of life which is about autonomy, freedom and enthusiasm. So we studied them carefully. Noticed when they slept and when they rose. Saw the pain in their eyes. On the day of our festival, a once-in-a-century occasion where we celebrated the formation of us, the splinter council lit themselves on fire and ran through our feasts, our parades. They killed our young and injured our elderly. We could not, we will not, stand for this. We gave the attackers the chance to change. We asked them to apologize, to make amends. They refused. We asked again. They refused again. We asked for a third and final time. They refused. Can you imagine? Choosing solitary power over the love and support of your community? We couldn't. So we did what had to be done - we banished them to an eternal hurricane, the Great Red Spot. They are welcome to return to us if they can apologize, atone and accept their place within our community. But they continue to choose the fiery hell they created.



Ally Noyes

Ally Noyes is a student of traditional and allopathic medicine in Bulbancha (New Orleans), Louisiana. They are the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lagniappe, an arts and literary magazine at their institution. They would rather be outside and can’t wait for the spotted bee balm to flower. Ally recommends Imagine Water Works.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, June 25, 2023 - 20:01