Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The World is Round and Very Small

Imagine a sphere about the size of a tennis ball. Imagine the thin film of adsorbed water molecules just barely clinging to its surface. If this sphere were analogous to our planet, that layer would be our ecosphere. We'd be living in that layer.

Now imagine the solar wind, a dry hot radiant blast of desert air, all ions, all heat, all light. It gusts suddenly with abnormal violence across the face of the tennis ball, and in one umbral sweep, the phosphorescence engendered by the dwellers in the thin film of water goes out.

Hah, not in my lifetime, everyone says.

I remember Chesterton describing the meditation of the heart as, "The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year / The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear."

Sometimes we forget how small we are, and how great our smallness. Of course, man's reach must exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for? But sometimes, we grasp too little, too late. Sometimes, our reach goes where it is of no bloody use at all.

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