Tuesday, December 11, 2012

the earth is a place

     ryan on a california wavelet, planet earth... october 2012

  I spent thanksgiving in the comfortable embrace of west Marin, California, North America, planet Earth.  Ryan came down from Oregon via northern California and we spent t-day surfing in Bolinas and basking in the warmth of the sun, our nearest star.  That night, after cooking a non-traditional dinner upon my camp stove, we set up my tent and made our little camp in a feral spot that we knew would evade discovery.  

Laying down beneath the stars is a good way to gain some perspective. Looking up at little specks of light, one can't help but feel a certain coziness with our situation here on earth. The comforts of our little spaceship-- water, light, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon (provided to us in perfect quantities)-- are so easy to take for granted. Our humanity is completely small under the dome of a vast night sky, and considering this one basic fact, the reality of our fundamental smallness, eases my mind.

"The Earth is a place.  It is by no means the only place.  It is not even a typical place. No planet or star or galaxy can be typical, because the Cosmos is mostly empty.  The only typical place is within the vast, cold, universal vacuum, the everlasting night of intergalactic space, a place so strange and desolate that, by comparison, planets and stars and galaxies seem achingly rare and lovely.... Worlds are precious."   -Carl Sagan, from The Cosmos, 1980

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