Friday, October 13, 2017

Blue Dot

I started this post in a dark and weary mood. Half way through, I stopped to reread what I had written and sighed. It was a maudlin piece full of self pity and angsty dread towards the world at large. In short, I was whining.

Well, we’ve all had enough of that nowadays, haven’t we? 

If you read some of my more recent posts, then you know I have had some cause for worry and anxiety. Yet, as time has passed, things have gotten better. My mother continues to improve physically, though her mind is a bit worse for the wear. The day job is a continual source of stress, but I am finding ways to compete with the shenanigans. 

Life resolving itself.

So now, it is time that I do likewise. It is in these pauses between crises that reach for things that give me perspective. The small things are what come to me first. Playing video games with my son on a lazy Sunday or sitting on the deck drinking tea with my wife. Toasting marshmallows for s'mores at the fire pit in our backyard near the old apple tree as the smell of wood smoke triggers Kodachrome memories in my mind. Even watching my staff fry caramel covered apples in the open garage door to our warehouse (I mean, why the hell not?) is something that makes me remember my happier side.

But, there are two things that I cling to when life is a storm. My family is the first, of course. I have a picture of them on my screen (I have a dual screen at the office, so I get to see it twice) and when it all gets too much, I minimize all my programs and look at it to remind myself why. I have nearly two hundred of these pictures in a file on this computer alone. Energon cubes for the heart.

The second is a picture taken by Cassini before she (all ships are female, even if they have a man's name). spiraled into her sacrificial orbit into Saturn. It is a picture of Earth. There, past the planar splendor of Saturn's rings - down and to the left of center, is a small blue dot. Little more than the size of a period, it encompasses everyone and everything thing that currently lives or has ever lived on earth. That microcosmic blip is the sum total of our  existence from the birth of the planet to the writing of this post.

So, when the politics of the day job raise the hackles of my moral indignation or the greed and prejudice of those who should be better find new ways to astound and demoralize me, I try to think of that little blue dot. Yes, we must struggle for our own personal survival on this lifeboat in space for truly it is all about perspective. Yet, I try to weigh the gravity of the situation against the import of that picture. I try to imagine Curiosity singing happy birthday to itself  on Mars every year because it can never ever come home. Then there are Opportunity and Spirit who are stuck in the vast sands of the Martian plains never to move again. I think of Voyager leaving the solar system heading out into the great black void and yet still sending back data from it's travels.

But mostly, I think of that little blue dot and ask myself. "What is this thing that is happening compared to that?" 

1 comment:

  1. "...we must struggle for our own personal survival on this lifeboat in space for truly it is all about perspective...."
    So true. Dark, yes, but so true.