Not much has changed in human experience since the beginning of time. As to the beginning of time, over the past few months, humanity has learned quite a lot more about time and space and the measure of the universe thanks to the discoveries of astronomers and astrophysicists working in concert around the world viewing the collision of a couple neutron stars. That level of cooperation among scientists should be the main lesson for us all. But I digress…
Fear seems to be built in to our brains: Fear of darkness. Fear of hunger. Fear of being eaten by a ferocious animal. Fear of being overcome by a stranger much like ourselves except different. We’re equipped with hormones for times of fear, as well as times of love. Nevertheless, fear is no way to live. Anxiety is damaging to our bodies, and preoccupation with evil can paralyze our creativity.
So, actually, what those astronomers and astrophysicists have detected out there, a mere three million light years away, provides some of the reassurance I need to remain fearless. Whatever elements came together as “me” seventy-one years ago produced neither a beginning nor an ending, but a momentary witness. My “purpose” involves collaboration and cooperation with everything else that is, from viruses to neutron star collisions. Keeping my eye on the Big Picture–and I mean REALLY BIG–puts the daily headlines in total perspective.
One of these days, I’ll have a front seat (again) for the cosmic dance.
heaved up from the ocean floor–
peak, plateau, and sandy playa
leagues from any mainland shore.
Human never saw the boiling
lava build these ragged heights,
never viewed the vapor coiling
upward in primeval nights,
never felt the urgent rumble
of this island at its birth.
Fragile flesh, be ever humble
in your blink of time on earth.
You are not the final reason
for the air, the seed, the bird.
Brief indeed may be the season
of the number and the word.