Tag Archives: astronomy

The Grace by Which we Live

I came to understand the real grace by which we live the other day. It’s nothing extra-terrestrial.   That is to say that it’s not above us, invisible in the sky.  Nor does it exist in some hero that we’ve created to fill an immature need for a leader.  Really and truly, the grace by which we live is more tenuous, more real, and more meaningful than we have given thought to.  And we have the universe to thank for it….

The real grace by which we live lies in the fact that nature and evolution managed to produce us at all.

Since we’ve come to know evolution in more intimate terms, thanks to developments such as the electron microscope and the doggedness of many scientists, there’s one thing we’ve learned:  if we were to wind the clock back and start the evolution process of earth all over, there’s no guarantee that we humans, as homo sapiens, would emerge.  The turns and twists that accompany the process at any one time could theoretically lead to some other sorts of life, and perhaps without any dent of awareness whatsoever.  Yet, here we are.

Can you see it?  Do you understand what this means?  Millions of years of fine-tuning, millions of years of trying out this or that physical characteristic, millions of years of other species that have come and gone, millions of years of change, millions of years of challenges from climate variations to illness inducing bacteria…and we manage to adapt enough to come out on top, superior to every animal and with the bonus and enormous ability to manipulate our surroundings to suit our lifestyles…… THIS is the grace by which we live.

And when we stop for a second, right now, to consider that out of billions of years’ worth of time extant, we humans have the opportunity to LIVE and be aware and enjoy the benefits of nature, then we really get an idea of the grace we have as such infinitesimally small bits of matter in the whole of the universe.  Our time here is no longer than the seasonal cycle of a leaf upon a poplar tree.  We are here in one blink of the universal eye and then gone the very next.  A very short time indeed, but the grace by which we live at least allows us a moment in the annals of the cosmos.

So then, what of it? What of this brief life we live and the grace by which it comes?

One of my favorite professors used to tell her classes that “we were the elite, one of the few that are educated, we have a certain level of accountability to society as a whole because of it.”  I took that to heart and would even apply the same stance to our short time on earth:  WE of all creatures , having awareness and consciousness, have a certain level of accountability to one another, to our fellow creatures, and to our mother earth.  With the grace of life given to us, we also have a responsibility to live that life as best we possibly can.

We are, thanks to the gracious movements of evolution, a very gifted animal.  We have, thanks to the graciousness of the universe, a brief moment to enjoy our awareness.   This is the grace by which we live – tenuous, real, and more meaningful than we might have thought.  Let’s make it count for something shall we?

Be Well,

Frankie

 

authors note:  this article was inspired by the song ‘sirens’, pearl jam, off of their most recent album, lightening bolt.

 

 


one of my favorite books….

coming-age-in-milky-way-timothy-ferris-hardcover-cover-art

you’ll notice i’ve taken a quote out of this work for this weeks widget space.

this is one of my all time favorite books ever for many reasons:

1.  i like mr. ferris’ writing style, ’tis a lot of information he covers, yet he keeps it light and interesting.

2.  it reminds me to be grateful for the time that i live in…the ability to look back on our history and development the way mr. ferris has AND be able to draw out some lessons for today is a cherished commodity.

3. the depth and breadth of the book makes an admirable synthesis of our quest to understand our earth-home and our place within the universe.  mr. ferris deftly weaves together the marriage of physics and astronomy as they team up to find answers to our never-ending questions.

4. it’s one of those books that is best read a few times over….so much information and such a beautiful story of us humans as well. as a writer and a historian, mr. ferris’ attention to detail is also a treasure trove of information.

5. the work leaves me in awe, once again, at us amazing humans.  our ability to observe and deduce, question and patiently wait for an answer, makes me proud to be one of us…

happy reading! and be well,

frankie


The Human Condition of Creating

One of the most endearing qualities we humans possess (to this speck of dust at least) is our passion and ability to create.  We are an amazing creature to be able to create the way we do.  We use our imagination in infinite ways to bring a new picture, or story, or gadget to realization.  But it’s not just the ways that we invent new things that make us creative – think of the way we create our ‘nests,’ by which I mean our homes.   We pay attention to every detail.  Not only do we want a specific color of curtain, it must also be the right texture. We paint trees and paw prints on the walls of our children’s rooms, with matching comforters and light switches.   Some of us even make sure the color of our Kitchenaid matches our kitchen theme.  While we’re on the subject of kitchens, there’s no greater place we love to create:  mixing new spices with traditional recipes to produce an original dish, making cupcakes in distinct flavors and colorful frostings, or adding a surprise ingredient to a tried and true soup.  One of my favorite observations about cooking is the intimacy inherent in this form of creating.  All that chopping and stirring and tending and measuring is done with care as we infuse our love with each twist of the spoon.  We don’t limit ourselves to creating in just the home however. There are the Steve Jobs of the world, the Richard Branson types who carry us forward, like da Vinci did during the renaissance.  These creators stand on the edge of everything we know and then have the tenacity (and audacity) to take us further.  Same goes for those daring astronomers and physicists who spend their dream time creating new ways for us to interpret our universe.  There are the designers who weave and sew in order that we may create a way of dressing that expresses who we are.  We owe our cultural fabric to singers and writers and painters and sculptors who somehow manage to capture a bit of the Universe for us with each stroke of the hand or movement of a note.  We owe our knowledge to those who have ever stood in front a classroom, creating an environment to challenge our minds and dig to the depths of reason.  Everywhere we look, we can observe ourselves creating in some form or another.  It is a beautiful sight to behold.

If we consider the thought a little deeper, we come to the conclusion that we can’t help but be creators.   We are born of creation itself, it is therefore in our very fiber to be creative – the old ‘acorn doesn’t fall far from the oak tree’ adage applies to us here.  If we dig deeper we can see a dynamic between the creator and the created, intimate and beautiful, a result of the fact that we are co-creating, working in tandem with the very universe that put us here.  Imagine – we are working side by side with Nature when we are creating.  Nothing is more terrible.  Nothing is more sacred.  There could be no greater act of worship.

So the next time you cook your family’s favorite meal, or dream up a new math formula, or pluck the next guitar string, or figure out a way to communicate with your sixteen year old for a minute – remember that you are creating, working with the universe, just as we were born to do.  Is there nothing more fulfilling in life?

Be Well…

Frankie