Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Starry, starry night!

Do you ever sit outside on a dark night – perhaps on the ground, digging your fingers and toes into the earth or maybe just sitting in a lawn chair with your favorite throw quilt – lean back your head so that you are staring into inky darkness and watch as more and more stars become visible? When you first look up into the night sky, only the brightest stars are obvious, but as your eyes adjust to the lack of light, the tinier pinpoints begin to come into view, as if what little light they possess is struggling to pierce the darkness. Soon the sky is filled with tiny lights. It is an amazingly beautiful sight.

Often we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget exactly how small and insignificant we – and I do mean the entire planet – are in the larger scope of existence. Our tiny world is only a spec in the huge cosmos. Far past our solar system are many other solar systems and past them are more. Open space is unbelievably expansive between all of these. There is no limit imaginable that can be applied to the system of planets, stars, black holes and celestial bodies that exist.

It is like attempting to imagine infinity. The human mind is incapable of this concept. Infinity means, quite simply, always was and always will be. Without beginning or end. Always in existence. How is it possible? The mind begins to warp if you really attempt to embrace the concept. And yet…

There is nothing like sitting outside on a dark night with your head leaning backwards, staring into the inky darkness, watching more and more stars become visible to make you understand how absolutely unique you are. How can that be?

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