Category: space


Yesterday, the bat kept flying into my life.  When the bat flies into your life, it is a signal it is time to bury some old part of yourself that has long ago died, but you have continued to carry.  Last night I was thinking about a time in my life when I was homeless and sleeping on a stiff bench in the Art Department building on campus.  I remember waking up to a class beginning and concerned students leaning over curiously poking at my arm.  The not knowing what will happen day-to-day is exhausting.  

That moment reflects a period of my life when I was filled with a sort of listless wanderlust.  Wanderlust minus destination and purpose.  At the time, I couldn’t afford an apartment of my own and had seriously irked my parents over something.  

A week into my ordeal, my now-husband invited me to Nashville and I quit school and headed down south for a few months.  When I returned, I was offered a beautiful place to live rent-free, which I immediately and shamelessly accepted.   I felt enormous gratitude, but I was still without purpose and a constant thorn in everyone’s side.

In a very real way, I didn’t “grow up” until I got married and settled with my husband into a home of our own.  Our marriage, though rocky in the beginning, offered the kind of security I hadn’t felt before.  And as we began having children, I slowly began to explore my purpose on this planet.  Over the last ten years I have shed my old skin (or killed off cells with chemo), and now it is time to bury that part of me without direction, without hope.  

Partly, this moment is inspired by the election, but I also believe some internal cycle ended long ago was carried along unnecessarily in the form of guilt or shame or an unwillingness to connect with the people of my past.  At this point in my life, though much remains uncertain, I am filled with gratitude and a feeling of hope that accompanies each new, promising hint of change emerging daily.  I feel much like the butterfly bush whose old-growth skeleton as the new shoots come up through and flower.  I have weeded out those branches that no longer serve my purpose for growth.

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I was reading this morning about Galaxy 4C60.07 – a very distant, early galaxy whose light has traveled some 12 billion years (two years post Big Bang).  I’m always fascinated that we’re able to glance into space and see events unfold in the fancy camera work of the universe from long before our earth was even a twinkle in our galaxy’s eye.  This got me thinking about what it means that the information reaching us is billions of years old and how our place in the universe heading away from origin and other objects alters our perceptions of those events.  

Without the science, if we looked into the sky and were able to see the same images, captured by the Spitzer infrared space telescope, it would be easy to assume the events were unfolding in present time.  Of course, our understanding of trajectory and the speed and flexibility of light has resulted in some complicated, but comprehensible measurements which help us define our place in the universe.

 We watch old movies and reminisce about the way things were.  What is it we feel when we look deep into our universal past and see black wholes and white light blobs forming at such a distance from our own existence as not visitable in our own life-times?  We may not reminisce, but perhaps what is captured is something akin to the magic we feel whenever we watch performances by the late screen stars Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire or Betty Davis alive and well on-screen, immortalized on magnetic tape.  Notice the similar movements as we float light as air round a light post in the rain photos recorded in sequence on magnetic tape on a planet spinning around an ancient star spinning in a spiral galaxy among billions of other stars.