“Two young mothers fight over the last small tin of tuna fish. And the earth somehow stands still in its spinning; darkness, like an eyelid tired, swollen, descends all over the globe.” ~Allison Marie Conway: Prophets, Gamblers, Circuitous Routes
Hat tip to Miss Allison, my mind took off after reading this last part of one of her recent pieces. The mind is funny that way…
My normal weekend grocery routine began as normal, waking at 5am (or 6 if I sleep in) and arriving at the store at 550 after showering, making my morning coffee and protein shake. That was about as normal as the day went. I would’ve thought it was Black Friday, or the first of the month on a Friday, with how many people were there.
In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, there is a scene that depicts the infamous run on the banks which happened almost a century ago. People are scared, panicky, and feeding off each other’s fear. George Bailey is greeted by his customers waiting outside and opens the doors to have them all flood in. Despite George trying to explain to the customers that “all the money” isn’t stored in the vault, but used to invest in building each other’s homes, etc., and that they should only withdraw what they need, most are demanding to take all of their money. No thought towards the larger picture, the societal need or their neighbor. One humble woman seems to slightly turn the tide when George asks her what she needs and she asks for nineteen dollars and change, if memory serves.
Few were truly, just taking what they needed, this weekend and the prior week. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have shortages of water, toilet paper, formula, diapers, etc. And for many chains, it isn’t a shortage per se, but an inability to resupply quick enough because of fear, panic and hoarder mentality.
You get the picture, and up to this point in my writing, it’s probably nothing you haven’t heard on the internet and your favorite social media outlet.
Let’s take the two young mothers fighting over the tuna, or me standing in line for an hour to purchase my groceries, or anyone of you who encountered this panic and fear…
Oh, how I wish I could use a graphics engine and create what I’m seeing in my mind’s eye!
Deep below where they, or I, or you stood, there were smaller organisms with zero regard to what was going on far above them. Worms, insects, rodents burrowing through the soil. A couple feet to a couple hundred feet above us, birds are flying, oblivious to “our plight”, doing what they do, like the lifeforms below, just taking care of the day’s troubles. Zooming out further, things seem peaceful and quiet, like when you look down at a town from a mountainside. Life is there, but one is oblivious to the minutia of it down below. 30,000 feet above, pilots and racing by at hundreds of miles an hour. Connected to the goings on below, yet, still, the passengers and pilots look down, and nothing seems to be happening, while we know something is. We move further up and further out, past the atmosphere and all is quiet… or at least that is how I imagine it to be in the vacuum of space.
There is intense heat and intense cold, but it is so very quiet. The Earth is gigantic and very slowly, imperceptible at first, it begins to shrink. Picking up speed it’s shrinking size becomes quite apparent. Somehere around 238,000 miles, the moon passes us by on our right. Gigantic, eerily similar yet different than the movies as it passes by quickly, our speed continually gaining. We aren’t going to even reach quarter of the speed of light, but we come close as our final destination, some 30,000,000 miles out will take us close to 15-20min to reach. It’s been a gradual climb, any faster and we wouldn’t enjoy the scenery, really.
You notice the great expanse of Space… everywhere. In every direction. Earth is still quite visible, a noticeable blue marble that has been slowly turning into a blue dot. We’re barely going a third of the distance to the Sun, and that monster has been getting bigger and bigger behind us. Thankfully in our imaginary travel, we aren’t burning or freezing. We just are.
Now… just look around. The violent non-stop energy of our Sun to our backs, the expanse of space before us and our little Earth, moving around the sun at just over 66,000 mph, so from this vantage point, I would imagine we could watch the Earth move in it’s orbit of the sun. I would imagine maybe we could see the brilliance of Space clearer, despite the Sun to our backs. I could be wrong, I’m no scientist. But just look around. And then back to the dot of our planet…
We feel like we are standing still right now… but we are locked in an orbit, too, as we look around. Our own solar system is traveling just under 450,000 mph through our 100,000 light year wide Milky Way Galaxy… too long of a distance for us to truly fathom. Even 30M miles out is hard to imagine.
But look at our blue dot…
Everything is still going on down there…
How small do those problems we face seem, even though they are still with us, locked inside the walls of our mind, even now as we float in Space…
See that blue dot?
That’s family and friends, wine and whiskey, love and lovers.
That blue dot is, whether by random chance or God or the Universe experiencing itself, that is where you ended up living.
It is where you will end up dying, too.
And somewhere down on that blue dot are people like that lady from It’s A Wonderful Life, working against the current of fear and panic, focused only on the needs of the day or week. These people are refusing to spread panic and fear. Looking out for their neighbor and society by not hoarding and by staying calm; using rational thought.
This may help, this may not help.
But a few hundred miles vertically… these things don’t matter.
It’s going to be OK. Yes, there are shitty aspects of human nature and times like these can bring out the worst in people, but it can also bring out the best.
Breathe. Embrace calm and rational thought.
Think of the macro, not just the micro that is your life.
Your life matters, so does your neighbor’s.
Think long term, think community, think BIG.
It’s going to be OK.