I haven’t written much at all in the last several years. It makes me feel exposed. I am more than comfortable hiding behind my sketchbook, scribbling drawings full of hidden meanings and metaphors that only I fully understand. But in light of recent events that have impacted people I dearly love, my heart has been moved, and I feel I should write something. So this is my story about why I like space so much.
Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by our solar system…particularly Earth’s moon and Mars. I would look at the moon through the little telescope my brother and I had, and wonder what it would be like to explore it…alone with the quietest silence and the shadowed craters. And I was sad when Pluto was demoted (you’ll always be a planet in my heart, Pluto). But there’s more to space than that. And the more I find out, the more I’m amazed.
We learned in school as kids that we live on Earth, that Earth is part of the solar system that circles around the Sun, and our solar system is floating around in the Milky Way galaxy. That’s pretty interesting, I guess. We’re hanging around in space with a bunch of rocks and stars floating around us. But when I really start to think about it, about the numbers, and how it relates to you and me…that’s when my mind gets thrown in the spin cycle.
Our Sun is a pretty big deal. It’s kindof the most important star to us, seeing as we’d be dead without it. But there are billions of other stars in our galaxy alone. And there are hundreds of billions galaxies in the known universe. I’ve never been great at math, and I’m not sure of the appropriate unit of measurement I should use, so I’ll just say that’s a flipping bloat-load of stars and galaxies. I can’t even begin to comprehend the size of the universe that we know about. We are barely even a whisper in our own galaxy, and our galaxy isn’t even a pinpoint in the space we’ve measured out. We are indescribably small. And the more we discover, the smaller we get.
How incredibly small we are blows my mind. But that’s nothing compared to this:
Despite our apparent insignificance in the universe, we exist. We are alive. 60 to 90 trillion cells are clumped together in the shape of a guy with a beard sitting in his room typing his thoughts into a machine that gathers that data and sends it through air to the machine you are in front of. And not only do we exist, we’ve also survived. We are arguably the most self-destructive thing on our planet, yet we are still here, held by an invisible force called gravity to our little planet that floats on an invisible path around a raging sun that would bake us if we were any closer but allow us to freeze if we were any farther away…in the incomprehensible vastness of the cosmos, we are here. I can’t describe how amazing that is. Even if i used words like mega-super-awesome.
So that’s why I like space. It’s not anything new, or ground-breaking, or incredibly enlightening. It just reminds me that it’s a big deal to be alive. The simple fact that you and I exist is, in and of itself, incredible. And I have to tell myself every day that even though I should take the things that happen in life lightly, that’s not the way I should take life itself.
a long time ago, when i was a baby, i was left in a basket in the jungle. this panther took me to some wolves to raise me. then i met this bear. he was really awesome, and we often talked about life and necessities. i got roped into a gang of sneaky monkeys, but the panther and the bear staged an intervention and got me out of there. then we beat the crap out of this jerk tiger. it’s weird that the tiger was the only one who wanted to eat me, but whatever.
anyway, i saw this cute ladygirl getting water, and she was all like, “oops, i dropped the water jar” and i was all like, “don’t worry ladygirl, i’ll get you all the water you want forever.” then we went back to the man village. we hung out a lot, i would always bring her prickly pear flowers. eventually, the excitement of my attention wore off and she broke up with me for some guy who rode around on his dirtbike while throwing cigarettes at people. heartbroken and alone, i turned to art as a coping mechanism, and poured out my emotions on paper through hidden meanings and metaphors only i fully understood.
the bear ended up flying a cargo plane for this hot single mom who might have been a red panda and became homies with the leader of the monkey gang, who had settled down and bought a little out-of-the-way bar. the tiger started wearing suits and became some hotshot businessman. he was still a jerk. also, there was this crazy wolf pirate who flew tiny planes with his flying canine pirate gang. one time, the bear threw a pineapple into his cargo plane’s propellers and the pineapple slices hit the wolf pirate in the face. that was pretty funny.