Friday, March 24, 2006

Fallen Sky

“Human beings have been fascinated with space since they first looked up at the stars in awe.”
- Conquering Space: To the Moon and Beyond (Apollo 13 Special Edition DVD)

Look up. What do you see? I’m guessing a ceiling or a light fixture (don’t stare at that too long). Go outside and look up. What do you see? An airplane or two? The moon? Perhaps Orion, Sirius, and a couple of planets. Now look out. What do you see? A thousand lights from a thousand windows from homes and offices alike? The sky, my friends, has fallen. Many of us can no longer stand in awe of the heavens. We can only stand in awe of our own creations.

I fear that too many people have never seen a sky with more than a dozen stars, for seeing a blackness, unperturbed by city lights, filled beyond measure with points of light that represent distant giants, is both humbling and inspiring. I don’t see that people feel that much anymore. We are too wrapped up in the world we have created for ourselves to notice there is so much we still don’t know, so much left to explore. That sky that so many of us can no longer see, that lofty goal all but abandoned, gave us something to reach for – a promise of something beyond the here and now. We followed that promise from cold, dark caves to the bustling cities that now drown it out. And now we have abandoned it. We no longer challenge ourselves to be better than we are. We act as if the universe will come to us, and all we have to do is wait. After all, the stars came down to shine on the ground – why can’t the rest just follow?

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