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gary e. davis
March 21, 2016

At night, standing in dark on a Berkeley hill, high enough to see an expanse of lights— San Francisco sparkling across black water (on a clear night), below me a spattering of lights around the campus area, Oakland way left, much light—I’m sure I see relatively few stars of our galaxy, due to light pollution. Still, on a clear night,
the sky is black, and many stars and planets are there.

Seeing the grand expanse many clear nights of the month, I recognize movement
of “stars,” i.e., planets, which move along an arc, westward and downward, as if attached to an invisible ring around the Earth.

Consider a couple of planets and a star as an obtuse triangle of points in the black: Antares, Saturn upper left of Antares, and Mars upper right; Antares is the bottom
of the obtuse triangle. Over weeks, the whole triangle is staying at the same tangent, as if rotating around Earth.

Of course, the real ring is the orbital plane of Earth moving around our Sun.
I’m seeing the effect of that relative to two other planets also orbiting, and a star
that seems to move with them because Earth moves on. In particular: The triangle changes shape, stretches out, as Mars moves westward more than Saturn, as if both planets are orbiting the sun in the opposite direction that Earth rotates, and Mars is oribiting backward faster than Saturn.

But really, it’s like traveling by car past a distant farm house that looks to be moving backward toward where I’ve been. Mars is orbiting in the same direction as Earth,
but is so much further away that it seems to be orbiting in the opposite direction, yet relatively more quickly than Saturn (much, much further away than Mars).

So the triangle stretches out, over weeks. This is noticeable because Antares
(the bottom apex of the triangle) doesn’t really move at all, except apparently, because Earth is moving eastward around the Sun. The obtuse triangle rotates westward and downward across the sky, changing shape, because Mars and Saturn move at different perceived rates.

(Is this a masterful bit of narrative clarity or what? Anyway,...)

So, seeing all this—not relative to a triangle of cosmic points moving around
the night sky of Earth, but as Earth moving around the Sun relative to the three cosmic points—gives me awed feeling for cosmic space, our tiny planet in our tiny region of a galaxy in a tiny piece of the Local Region, which is a tiny piece of a tiny piece....

But feeling provides no good sense of how much space is involved.

The diameter of the Sun is over 100 times the diameter of the Earth, whose orbit is like a tiny pebble (smaller than a pea) orbiting a soccer ball that is further away
(in radius!) than the length of an American football field; and Mars, a grain of sand, half of a football field away from Earth—a pebble in a ring with diameter of three football fields.

Then there is our view on mountains, away from metropolitan light pollution,
where we look into the Milky Way as if it’s a cloud of stars far, far away,
though actually our solar system is embedded in a dense arm of The Thing—and
the relative emptiness between stars, to us, is just a sign of the incomprehensible scale of our dense galaxy: Eight minutes for light to reach Earth from the Sun;
a hundred thousand years for light to merely cross our galaxy that is like a spot
in a Hubble Telescope image, all spots moving away from each other in the angel
hair latticework of galactic, cosmic fluff, “infinitely” large and old.

And, I am one lovely life seeing, making Meaning of there being this life.

By the way, given the distances involved between Earth and Sun, the coincidence that the Moon is of such a size and distance [238, 900 miles] from the Earth that it exactly covers the Sun, 93 million miles away, in a solar eclipse, is too uncanny to seem coincidental. But of course it’s coincidence? If a form of intelligence is nearby
that is a billion years beyond us and could maneuver moons—look how far we’ve come in several thousand years—It would stay Silent, just as the brighter of our species leave wildlife to its own ways. We terrify squirrels and birds. Would you
to know how real gods appear? It would give hints, in case we evolve enough
to Get It: Gods have passed by. “Let us know when you’re no longer clueless.”

So, the night is Dark and Silent, I do not forget. This milkweedy fluff of evolving mind—no, n-dimensional rhizome of associability—wafts through eonic time, thanks to eonic evolution, another bloomin’ bud loving adventure, another point to die never knowing that this rhizomy recursivity stopped.

In the dark of night, at my immediate left, downhill a bit, is a jogging track, big flat oval—carved out of the mountain, barely discernible in the dark, and quiet, like
an abandoned Greek amphitheater, deteriorated legacy, monument of lived time gone.

OK. All’s OK. Despite the Dark Silence—monumental marks of humanity, monu-mental points of cosmos—bright life is good in itself—for “Heaven” is Earth (at our best), and here I am, enjoying the point of It all: enjoying points, constellations, assemblages, ecospheres, ecologies, ecogenies—being a lover of imaginability, alive!



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