Late-night musings about stars and people and things
I had this thought earlier while walking out under the brilliant night sky. From down here on our home planet, the stars and planets look like simple pinpricks of light up in a dark blank canvas, but of course that’s not what they really are. Fly a lot closer and we see that the stars look just a bit different from a closer vantage point. A lot bigger, vastly more detailed and utterly unique. But we would never know that if we had never created telescopes and space ships and crossed the void of space to satisfy our curiosity.
Are there deeper real-world parallels to that concept that I’m getting at? Well, yes. I guess you could just put that fact out there and leave it at that, but I’m kind of fond of drawing parallels and life lessons where possible. So here goes.
A lot of people look like faraway stars from a distance or at first glance. Not literally, of course. But they look beautiful or mysterious or maybe perfect or sparkly or maybe even boring and a lot of sameness. Not that stars are boring or all the same. But when you look at the sky for a while you start to notice that stars and planets basically appear the same: dots of light against the night sky. Nothing ordinary about them, but the thing that makes them especially unique and alluring is the patterns they are arranged in and the orbits they follow, rather than their individuality.
So maybe in life we look at people, and they all start to look the same. Beautiful and flashy, yes; mysterious and interesting, yes. Arranged in groups and cultures and colonies and communities that make them a bit more intriguing. But maybe we start to take them for granted, and after a while we kind of glaze over them with the overwhelming feeling that you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Or have you?
Maybe that’s the case...until you get a little closer and start to get to know them individually, one by one. Then, suddenly, not everyone looks the same anymore. Some are expressive, well-rounded characters, others might be elusive and remote. Some are warm and tantalizing or even sweltering; others are frigid and ice-crusted across every peak and valley. Some are dry, vaporous, or barely breathable in their atmosphere. Others are moist and nearly suffocating in their embrace. Some are colorful and ringed with a vast social network; others are lone survivors in their pale solitary existence. All are suspended in an orbit or pathway as unpredictable as the bowels of deep space.
What started out as a smattering of faint illumination in an otherwise dark and lonely universe expands to become a series of sun-drenched luminaries, each one as bright and complex and meaningful in its own world as the noonday light of summer.
Yeah, I know the comparison between starts/planets and humans starts to break down if you think about it for too long. And goodness knows I’m not trying to be scientifically accurate here. But just, you know, humor me for a bit.
We’re all so similar, yet diametrically opposed. From a distance, we’re not so unique. Just humans, part of Earth’s inhabitants. But close-up, we are variegated, multi-faceted, brilliant beings, startling in our differences. You just have to take the time to come a little closer and get to know us as individuals. Try it--you might be surprised at the results.
Don’t forget that distance is as obscuring as closeness is revealing. Either way, you both lose and gain something. Enjoy the stars from a distance, but don’t discount the fact that up close they transform into something unique and jaw-dropping. Beauty can be found anywhere, even--or especially--in extremes. What about a happy middling? Well, that’s fine, but don’t stay there too long. Might get a little boring.
Anyway, this is just one of the many random thoughts that flit through my head. Does it make any sense? I’m not sure, considering that I’m writing this at a much-too-late/early hour of the night. Ask me again in the morning when I’ve had time to wake up and think clearly for a while. Should I even post this? Well, at least I’ll have an excuse in case this turns out really terrible. I’ll just blame it on the subpar state of my brain at three in the morning. Regardless, I hope you got something useful out of my brain wanderings.