Infinite Perspective

Lindsey - Ames, Iowa
Entered on January 11, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

When I am outside walking down my tree-lined street, I often find myself slowing to a stop, face angled upwards to the sky. Summer or winter, day or night I am drawn to the heavens. I have been this way for as long as I can remember, and I hope that I don’t ever change.

Clouds are some of my favorite things to watch. Their patterns are incredibly complicated and never repeat twice. They can be shaped in never-ending swirls that twist up and around one another, or in great sheets blanketing the sky until you can see nothing but white. Clouds seem especially beautiful, though, as the sun goes down behind them. Colors leak in and spill perfectly into one another, and it becomes hard to tell if the sunset is real or if it has been painted in watercolors on the hem of the horizon.

The night sky is a different beast altogether. At night, the atmosphere becomes transparent, and we can see the world outside of our world.

Lie on your back in the grass sometime and just stare at the moon. Stare long enough and the curve of the Earth falls away. You are suddenly out there watching the planets spin in their orbits. Your body ceases to exist as you become bigger than yourself.

This feeling can be very calming. One night I was absolutely furious at my family for some reason or other. For a change I decided to go outside. I stepped out my front door and the first thing I saw was Orion stretched across the night sky. I gazed at it and began to calm down right away. I could already see the galaxies spinning light-years away, and I thought to myself: is it really that important that my sister stole my clothes, or that I had to clean up after the dog again? Does anything in life really matter over this feeling of being part of something so huge?

And so I believe in taking time to put things into perspective. I am only one of six billion human beings living on Earth. Earth is only one of nine planets orbiting our Sun. The sun is only one of billions of stars spinning through the galaxy. And the Milky Way is only one of a countless number of galaxies traversing the infinite expanse of the universe. It is liberating to let the enormousness of it sweep you away, to stare until you can feel nothing at all except the energy of the universe.

One life in infinity is truly tiny, but I realize when I stare into the night sky that we are all connected. Every human is connected to all the others, to every star and every planet, to each blade of grass and gust of wind. Each of us is connected to everything in the universe that ever was and ever will be. I believe that we are all components of infinity itself.