The Dust of a Comet
The other night in Los Angeles, it was possible to see faintly the Leonid meteor showers with the naked eye. A bright gibbous moon made the show less spectacular than it will be tonight, on the 19th, when the moon will be on the wane. The light we saw shooting across the sky was thrilling to astronomers because it was “young,” only a few hundred years old.
Events like these remind me of something I feel every time I gaze upon the stars: This universe is too large for me to get my meager mind around. No matter how much I read about space and physics and what time really means, I can’t comprehend how short our human existence is and how long everything else is.
Which then gets me thinking this: Our lives are too brief to worry much about anything. It’s all utterly inconsequential in universal terms. Only in our tiny spheres, where we are the suns and moons and planets, does our presence make the slightest bit of difference. So when faced with the choice of doing something life-affirming and beautiful or something stultifying and banal, I want always to make the sublime choice.
It won’t make a bit of difference to anyone or anything in the long run. But in the very short term, it will make me feel I’ve momentarily, if only for the flicker of a meteor shower, embraced the rare blessing of being alive on this little satellite called Earth.