The Comfort of the Astronomer
In the tumult of human woes, personal and global, the universe presents itself as our ultimate context. Our pale blue dot defines our scope, and it is surrounded by beauty we are only beginning to imagine, serenity of the greatest magnitude, timeless and ancient, the matter from which all our matters have come. One glimpse into its vastness reduces the significance of our present troubles, not to nothingness, but to reasonableness. This same universe has illuminated every human crisis of any and all proportion, almost all of which have simply been forgotten by now. Who is to say tomorrow’s weepings will endure for any longer than those of the countless wars, catastrophes, disasters, and dramas of humanity’s last few millennia? The universe blinks. Our troubles have passed. Its beauty remains. This is the comfort of the astronomer.
The Center of the Rose
This image is one of my own, taken in early January, 2013.
At fifty-five, I am not old enough for light to have
traveled from one edge of this image to the other.