Monday, April 23, 2007
The News From Sirius
Our world sits inside an ever-expanding ball of electromagnetic noise. Some of it is manufactured by us -- radio, television signals, cell phones -- and some of it is merely the stuff reflecting off of us. All of it travels at a finite speed: the speed of light. Incomprehensibly fast in mundane human terms, but finite nonetheless.
Everything that has ever happened here, from the perspective on an observer elsewhere, is happening right now... provided someone is listening with the right equipment.
On an undiscovered iceball in the Oort Cloud, I am watching an earthworm make his way through the rain. Tau Ceti is just now receiving word of my marriage. Near Epsilon Eridani, it's Grade Six and I'm kissing Julie Raisbeck. Somewhere around Wolf 359 I am being handed my divorce decree. Near Proxima Centauri I am giving my heart away again. Around Capella I am in an incubator.
On Europa the idea to write this is just now occurring to me.
Whenever I start to feel small and sad and alone, I remember that things are going much better for me somewhere else. It's just the "here and now" part that's so challenging sometimes.
I live my life in ever widening circles
that reach out across the world
Perhaps I shall never succeed in reaching
the final circle, but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, that ancient tower.
I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still do not know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
-Reiner Maria Wilke
...and as The Smiths once asked: how soon is now?