Childlike fascination: The Perseid meteor shower and why I’m still amazed by space.

I must apologize for a lack of book review or other updates this week. I’ve been pretty busy plugging away on my sci-fi project and re-reading Stephen King’s On Writing. Which… if you haven’t read… Is wonderful. Definitely at the top of my list of books all fiction writers should read. His no-nonsense approach to the craft is probably unmatched. I would hazard to say the only other work that comes close is Brenda Euland’s If You Want to Write. But as I intend to do full reviews of both those works at a later date, I won’t talk about that now. Instead, I’m here to talk briefly about space. Cause it’s awesome. And it’s one of those things that doesn’t seem to get any less mystifying or incredible no matter how much I “grow up.”

Last week I stayed up entirely too late two nights in a row to observe one of my favorite celestial events, the Perseid meteor shower. Saturday night was extremely cloudy in my, as Al Roker would say, neck of the woods… so when Sunday night showed us a clear sky, I excitedly called up a friend and invited her over to enjoy the show with me. As we lay on a pile of blankets in my front yard – she curled into a borrowed pillow, I bundled up in my Snuggie, I was struck by my own unwavering enchantment with the night sky. In many ways, I have changed and grown drastically beyond the child who first looked up and stood entranced by the stars some 20 years ago. But that fascination is just as great today, if not more so,
than it is in my earliest memory. I find that extremely compelling, especially considering the number of things that have changed in my life since then. When I first looked up into the night, I was a small girl who did not yet know what she wanted to be when she grew up. She didn’t know where she was going to live, or who with. She didn’t know what she believed, or why. There were many things she didn’t yet know about herself, or about the world at large. And looking outside of my own self, there was a time in the very near past that we as a species did not know the Earth revolved around the Sun. We didn’t know how to fly, we didn’t know if water might exist on another planet; that other planets existed! We didn’t know the age of the universe, or if it was expanding or contracting or static, or where it ended… IF it ended… We still can’t be 100% certain about some of these things… But one thing seems constant, at least for me… and that is the pure fascination that comes with looking up into it.

The more I learn, and the more I think I know… the more I realize… I don’t know shit. And anyone who claims to have all the answers is either stupid or selling something.

This awareness of an intrinsic inability to know is the cornerstone of a great number of my own personal beliefs. It is why I continue to be entranced. It is why I never stop being amazed by the beauty of the stars, or of the world in general. I’m grown up now, but in many ways I am still that little child looking up in awe at that which she cannot comprehend. I hope that never changes.

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