Saturday, September 21, 2013

Repost from 2010 - Subheading: stardust

Saturday, December 4, 2010

23 zeros and counting

The new profile picture is another rubber stamp design, this a child/not-child dressed as a star for the (as they now call them) holiday program.

The bringing and holding of light speaks to me, not only because we Northern Hemishpherians are moving swiftly toward the shortest day of the year. With light we find our way in the dark, actual, physical dark and that of a more mythic, metaphoric composition.

Illumination, by any of its definitions, involves giving life and light to that which it touches. Dispeller of shadows, revealer of what has been hidden from view, teller of secrets, unmasker, foe of ignorance, befriender of the lost. To be its bearer is to carry wisdom and healing and hope. To be its source is to be a star.

Within the past week, scientists announced that the number of identifiable stars in the known universe is much greater than previously thought. While the numbers are really guesses, it is estimated that there are nearly 100 sextillion stars, a one followed by 23 zeros. Makes a mere gazillion seem paltry.

By virtue of our designation as humans, we possess the extreme potential of being sources of light, not by the same, scientific definition as burning suns, but also not that different. We are often estranged from our own miraculous properties, in the dark, so to speak, about who we are, what we bring, how we are catalysts for change and enlightenment within ourselves and others. We of the Woodstock generation didn't have it wrong. We ARE stardust. It was maintaining that state over decades of spiritual and political candle-snuffers that proved difficult.

We navigate by the stars, their reliable, fixed positions in the heavens leading us home. Wearing your own star suit, holding still while your beams lend guidance, you may wish to send out a press release, updating the astronomers' statistics. Please change that number to 100 sextillion and one.

19 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...
Nicely expressed. 23 zeros would be a fine name for a startup company.
Kass said...
Wonderful essay on light.
Artist and Geek said...
23 zeroes and counting to infinity...

Our bodies are made of star stuff and our souls are made of stories (Carl Sagan, I think).

Light, stars and sleep. The universe is wonderfully creative isn't it?
Claire Beynon said...
This is a beautiful piece, Marylinn - luminous and illuminating, in the way of so much of what you offer here.

Your star design and the poetry it leads on to are penetrating, too. I find myself thinking of The Little Prince, wanting to read it again.

Thank you for the Carl Sagan snippet, A&G. "The cosmos is also within us; we're made of star stuff..." Here's a link to a video that never fails to stir me - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGK84Poeynk

Warm greetings all.
Claire xo
RachelVB said...
One cannot exist without the other. Incredible that such opposite things rely on each other. We would have no concept of light without the dark. Contrast, too, is vital in photography and in art - the mixing and distinction between light and dark.
Robert the Skeptic said...
Your post gives me fond memories of the late Carl Sagan. I miss him.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Laoch - Thank you. And I agree, any particular sort of company you have in mind?
Marylinn Kelly said...
Kass - Thank you. The message seemed to be coming at me from many directions.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Artist and Geek - It is, truly, a remarkable universe, or piece of the multiverse. Many of us thank you for the Carl Sagan reference, with which I was somehow not acquainted. Being made of star stuff and stories, one would wish that such ordinary states as discouragement, uncertainty, confusion, etc., etc., did not have to be part of the picture. That pesky human form and all the baggage it brings.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Claire - Thank you. Illumination was the first word that took hold of me. Thank you, as well, for the link to Sagan, Feynman, et al..."it's all really there, really, really there..."

I haven't read THE LITTLE PRINCE in ages, but hold fast to, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly...what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Your greetings warmly received. xo
Marylinn Kelly said...
Rachel - Part of each day's assignment seems to be balancing the tension between disparate, ambiguous, contrasting states; emotional and spiritual contortionists who occupy opposing spaces at the same time. And I agree, each gives definition to the other...what would light mean without darkness?
Marylinn Kelly said...
Robert - Following Claire's link helped me realize a great gap in my education, the need to catch up on all missed segments of COSMOS.

In doing some reading about him and his too-short span of years, I can see why you, surely with many others, miss him. One of his quotes is, "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
Artist and Geek said...
Claire, thanks for the link. Wistful compilation, just wish they hadn't used autotunes. Sagan, Clarke, thinkers and science communicators that are missed.

Marylinn and others; if interested NovaScienceNow has a great series narrated by the enthusiastic Neil de Grasse Tyson (astrophysicist and mentored by Sagan). We are all connected...

Marylinn, yes, life is as mysterious as the universe.

23 stars and counting stars maybe for this group?
Artist and Geek said...
Add: Oops. Extra stars in there, why not?
Donna B said...
I love your new star person drawing. Your words always light up my world, giving me visual pictures of delight and wonder. Great post. I agree, our friends and family are the stars in our universe...shine on dear friend, shine on...
Robert the Skeptic said...
Just a follow-up footnote; I ordered the DVD version of "Cosmos" for Christmas last year and watched the episodes as I exercised. In later years Sagan filmed some "updates" which were inserted into the original series.

This is such a remarkable production; it should be required watching for everyone in school. I love it.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Artist and Geek - Thinkers will always be missed. No matter how much wisdom they have left us, each new moment makes me long for as many sane, intelligent voices as can be found.

Thank you for the NovaScienceNow information and for continuing to count our stars. We are all so very connected.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Donna - Thank you so much. I have an affinity for beings in suits/costumes, forever stuck in the long-ago delight of the school pageant. What a gift, that we are able to offer our light to one another.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Robert - With your wonderful profile picture of the scientifically (?) minded lad with the metal object and the electrical outlet...

Your further recommendation is all the urging I need to make up for lost COSMOS time. Thank you.

2 comments:

Sol said...

I like the expression of your child/not-child design, and your shinny writen.
Perheps so that we are all connected to each other biologically,to the earth chemically, and to the rest of universe atomically.
You make me smile and maybe feel a little larger. Thank you, not solely for this post...yOu've been an inspiration for me lately. I hug you strong. ☼

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sol - Thank you. I, too, believe we are all not only connected to everything but we are segments of one enormous whole. Please do feel large, for you are, vast and infinite. A strong hug back, my pleasure. Shine brightly. xo