Saturday, February 25, 2012


Carl Sagan, as part of the Voyager project, turned the cameras back on Earth, and captured a pale blue dot, the size of a pixel, in the darkness.  “That is here”, he said.  “That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you have ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar’, every ‘supreme leader’, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam ”

This is your home.  This is the sum total of all you know.  This is the totality of all your parents, grandparents and so on; all the way back to your knuckle-dragging, fur-clad, ancestors.  This is the abode of life as we know it.  And though there are millions of other worlds that might be like it in our universe, this is the only one like this one that we know for sure has intelligent life.
When you stand upon the highest elevation and look around, all that lies beneath your gaze, that vast distance to the horizon is just a small portion of the immensity that is Earth.  And as large as our homeworld is, it is such a small place when compared to the mind numbing expanse of the Cosmos.  It is all so very big, and we are such small and fragile things.

We are small fragile things connected to each other by our existence on this planet.  This planet is not just an American planet, nor is it commanded by any other group.  It is all of ours.  Not just one group’s home; but all humans, all life, cling to our world as a newborn to its mother’s teat.  This world shelters us, feeds us, not just the nourishment from our agriculture, but it feeds our very souls.  It is as much a part of us as we are of it.  In the distant future, when humans from Earth go out to that stars, their symbol won’t be a flag of any nation, but the image of our blue-green, teraqueous globe, against a black field.

What that image will show, is that we are one species.  That we have out grown our tribal hates, our juvenile bigotry, and blinding superstitions.  We will walk together into the future, and across our world.  It will, by necessity, be a world without divisions.  It will be united, by our common humanity, not by force of arms.  It will be a mature society, having thrown off the emotional tantrums of adolescence.  I will not live to see it.  In point of fact, none of us will.  Generations yet unborn will live and die before we get there, but get there we will.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Journeyman Chronicles: Part 3

The Unmentionable Darkness Along the Way

The path has never been vaguer; it is nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding terrain.  There is no definition, just mere hints, fading away into the impenetrable darkness.  Ruins of what was, what might have been are strewn about, decaying in the foul mist.  I stumble about in the dim murk, lost.
I miss the light, the warmth of the Summerlands, where all was carefree.  We were young then, and troubles seemed so very far away.  I was happy, bathed in the light of the noon day sun, with a gentle breeze, and the crystalline sounds of chimes in the distance.  It was so simple, to run, play and be free in that gentle world.  Pain was a scraped knee or a childish crush unrequited.  It drifted away as quickly as it came.  But summer does not last forever.

Now I cross a dark, ruined land.  No map, nor lamp to guide my way, I try to move forward.  I fall, I get up, and I fall again.  I am bloodied, bruised; the pain is a fire, blinding me. Why am I here, where is the light, where are the gentle breezes?  Why have I lost my way so profoundly?  I thought I knew all the answers.  I knew the size and the shape of the world, I had everything calculated when the journey began.  How foolish I was to even try to go this far, how juvenile that I thought I could find my way. I want to lay down my burdens, and just stop blundering about in the pitch black darkness of this never ending night.

Hamlet’s lament comes to mind, and I wonder if just surrendering to the darkness is the end to all of this.  The bogeymen, just beyond my reach, murmur in the ebon dark.  They speak in wretched voices, saying things dark and malicious.  Their venomous tirades try to pull me into those places that I do not want to tread.  I don’t want to go down this road anymore.  I don’t want to be here anymore, I refuse to give in today.  Tomorrow may be different, but today, now, I keep feeling my way, looking forward to the light, continuing my journey to the west.  I will welcome dawn, when it comes.  The bogeymen will turn into piles of clothes on the backs of chairs, their words mere echoes in the unmentionable darkness along the way.