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infinite beyondness

The sky has been so clear that I almost lost control of my car coming home the other night. I looked out the window and saw so many stars that they blurred together in a mist of light above me -- the Milky Way sprawled across the ink black night.

- photo by Jeremy Thomas, by Upsplash

There are places I’ve lived and traveled where I forgot to stop and look up, so caught up in the day that I couldn't see beyond what was in front of me. But Hawaii has a sky that won't be ignored; fused to the landscape by clouds gathered at the seams between earth and sky.

A few days earlier, I carried a blanket outside at dusk, with my kids at my heels, and draped it over the grass just beyond our front porch so we could watch the stars come out. They wiggled around and listened to my stories about the unfathomably gigantic universe and how tiny we are by comparison. They counted stars until they lost track between fingers and toes.

"Boys," I said with conviction, "Think of it this way: There are maybe100 billion stars in our galaxy and 100 billion galaxies like ours in the known universe, which is expanding out into something (we don't know what). If you counted all of the stars just in our galaxy, say at one number a second, it would take you 3,000 years to finish," I quoted from recent readings in astrobiology. They seemed amazed but unconvinced.

One thing is for sure can feel it from here, just looking up, where there’s nothing between you and all that, up there.


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