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A Small Place in The Universe

A Small Place in The Universe

We just experienced a total eclipse of the sun, at least in some parts of the world, my part included. News about the eclipse was all over social media. There were even special hashtags and emojis, articles telling people about where to go to see the eclipse in totality, what the weather would be like in their locations, and tips about viewing it. People even went on special vacations to go watch it where it would be a better view. All of this buzz about the sun got me thinking about the people doing the buzzing. Here’s what I noticed: Everywhere you turned there were so many people being brought together, united by a common goal.

We live in a world of conflict, everything from petty squabbling to outbreaks of violence. Sometimes I wonder if it is just human nature, if the fact that we are eternally trapped inside our own consciousness simply breeds conflict, though I really don’t like to be that cynical. Then there are things like this, things that are so much bigger than our separate little lives. It doesn’t matter if solar eclipses or meteor showers just aren’t your thing, I’m not going to fight you on how you live your life. As an observer though, I am hopeful when I see people coming together to experience something like this, something so beyond the control of humanity.

A celestial event like this total eclipse is something that we did not create. We can’t argue that it has the “wrong” appearance or belief or political party. It’s the sun and the moon, folks. They’re up there, you can see them. The moon covered up the sun and hundreds of people watched it happen. If you don’t believe me then allow me to refer you to my good friend, Science. I am not a scientist, but as an artist, I love science, and I see the poetry in it. In an event like this I see an opportunity for the human race to unite under the realization of how truly small we are, even if it’s just for one fleeting moment.

We are just tiny little creatures existing on a rock floating in an enormous, ever expanding universe. We get so caught up in the details, fighting and disapproving. We are small, we are short lived, instead of wasting time tearing each other apart, shouldn’t we make the best of our existence? This is my challenge, this is my wish, to take the tiny lives that we have, and make them into something worth having.



I decided to make a bit of an edit to this blog and add this ending piece. I wrote the original post on September 3rd, and it is now September 13th. For people of Florida(my home state) and other affected areas, that means we were just hit by hurricane Irma. Hurricanes have been a surprisingly normal part of my life since I was a kid, but I haven’t actually been through one since I was seven. Now that I am older I got to see the nature of the thing from a different perspective. I made the point, in the above article, that when nature throws something larger than life at us, like an eclipse, the species tends to put our differences aside to have this shared experience. It is the same with a natural disaster. Suddenly there is this sense of community, and unspoken energy because everyone is dealing with the same mess. You go out before the hurricane and you know everyone is having their “Let’s go party before Irma messes up our life” night. You go out after and you know everybody is having their “I just have to get out of the house and find someplace with AC and other people”. It is a strange but undeniable phenomenon. More thoughts on hurricane observations later perhaps, stay tuned…

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Olivia is a creative human who writes for IDEAS and reads many, many books. Got an idea for a guest blog? Email