Last evening I broke my solitude and went to Kitt Peak National Observatory. I thought the perspective could be helpful. And the wonder.
A dear friend in Colorado once wrote to me, “Nature is my church.” I feel the same way. Yesterday, I went to church.
Along with my fellow nine space travelers and our observatory guide, looking through the telescope at far away suns and galaxies, it occurred to me:
- The unknowns will always exceed the knowns.
- It’s hard to imagine earthlings are the only beings in the universe capable of thinking about the future and planning.
- The spaces are as much a part of the whole as the masses.
- The request by one of the guests “to look at heaven” may not have been as silly and ridiculous as it sounded.
- Things are often not as they appear.
Regarding the latter point, even a middle or high schooler knows we’re not seeing what we think we are when we look into the telescope. Some of the distances are vast (billions of light years), and light travels only so fast. Hence, we are seeing what was, not what is.
Indeed, what was — what we perceive to be reality — may no longer even exist. And we may not be seeing that which has been born but whose existence has yet to be observable in far away places such as the planet earth. Again, light travels only so fast.
In sum, what we perceive as reality may be anything but.
Such is life. Not only in the realm of astronomy, but also in the realm of human perceptions, sight, hearing, and interactions.
It is when our human constructs, concepts, and ideas conflict with the unseen reality that trouble ensues. Sometimes, in the form of negative thoughts or angst. Sometimes, worse.
If we are to flourish, if we are to become ourselves and to be content with whom we are, perhaps it’s essential we connect with reality, unobstructed by all the crap that gets in the way. Perhaps it’s essential we become aware of and accept our place in the world. In the universe. And acknowledge and become comfortable with the spaces.
The stars, planets, and galaxies have something to tell us.
In the desert.