the pale blue dot

DotFrom this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you 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.

-Carl Sagan

 

 Note: The Pale Blue Dot: Captured from 3.7 billion miles away, Earth appears as a tiny dot halfway down the orange stripe on the right.  Image: NASA / JPL

On February 14, 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft — which carried The Golden Record turned its revolutionary camera around and took the iconic “Pale Blue Dot” photograph that later inspired the famous Sagan monologue of this blog entry. The image, composed of 640,000 individual pixels, depicts Earth, a mere 12% of a single pixel, at the center of a scattered ray of light resulting from taking an image this close to the Sun. It endures, even in an age when the future of space exploration hangs in precarious balance, as a timeless Valentine to the cosmos.

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feeling small

I sometimes look up into the night sky and think how far away everything is.

And I end up feeling small.

I think God designed it this way. Not just to make us feel small. But to make us realize how incredibly awesome He is.

Two men realized that when someone pictured the universe in which we live, no one seemed to depict it to scale. They show position, and order, and other factors, but all of them seemed to fall short of an actual depiction of things to a comprehensible scale.

What they produced is something that amazes...and humbles at the same time. And yes, God remains, as always, incredibly awesome.


in the garden

I've been trying to tidy up my backyard garden area.

I've been thinking that life is like a garden. It takes constant tending to make it the place it is supposed to be.

There are lots of directions I could go with this theme. The Bible has some amazing verses about gardens and the things that happen in them. They are wonderful places of understanding, of truth, and of guidance.

But this morning, I found myself listening to the words about being "In the Garden" with my Lord -- and how important it is to spend time listening to His voice.

 


for the birds

BlackbirdwhiteI have to admit that I’ve allowed some of my property to become overgrown.

Some of it is due to wanting to feel secluded. A family to the south of me and an older couple to the west of me are beyond trees and bushes.  The obnoxious building supply store to the north of me is blocked by the barrier of thuja giant evergreen trees I planted years ago. The east is open – well, fairly open; it’s sometimes blocked by railroad cars on the tracks east of the house.  Two tall evergreen trees and an adolescent maple tree give me some blockage.

But, another reason for the overgrowth comes from a love of birds.

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numinous

Moon"The moon is a stone; but it is a highly numinous stone. Or, to be more precise, it is a stone about which and because of which men and women have numinous feelings. Thus, there is a soft moonlight that can give us the peace that passes understanding. There is a moonlight that inspires a kind of awe. There is a cold and austere moonlight that tells the soul of its loneliness and desperate isolation, its insignificance or its uncleanness. There is an amorous moonlight prompting to love — to love not only for an individual but sometimes even for the whole universe."

 

-Aldous Huxley

(from the book Music At Night and other essays)

 

 

 
 
nu·mi·nous /ˈn(y)o͞omənəs/ adjective
; having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.

God's Grandeur


Morning
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
 
And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 
- Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

sunset

SunsetEvery night
The horizon lights up
Swirls of pink and orange
Fading to blue and purple

Few bother to look anymore
At a blessing
That only comes once a day

Each sunset is different
No two exactly alike
Difference flows throughout
While it is the only similarity

Over the ocean
Or through the sky scrapers
Out on the prairie
Or in an apartment

You can still see a piece
A piece of something
Something never to return
A sunset

For the colors are shimmering
For a moment they stay
Only to disappear into change
Change just as beautiful as the last

This is why
No matter where you go
One thing remains the same,
A difference in sunsets

In your very own sunset 

-Jessica Millsaps