watch the sky

In case you don’t already know, Wil Wheaton has a blog. Yeah, that’s right. Wil Wheaton. The skinny kid from Star Trek and Stand By Me. And if you didn’t know he had a blog, you’re probably thinking something negative about the guy, but once you read the blog you’ll realize that he’s a far cry (and at once not that far at all) from the skinny kid on Star Trek. He’s insightful. Witty, even, and writes on everything from pop-culture to sci-fi to Suicide Girls. (That’s right, Suicide Girls.)

Through another random trail of InterWeb links, I stumbled upon an entry of his where he calculates that’s he’s been riding this planet for almost twenty billion miles (which means I have been, too, since we’re almost the same age). And that lead me to this picture.

It’s a picture of the sunset on Mars. (A full-size version is here) It’s a strange thing, really, so see a sunset on another planet. And if you read the article, they talk (in great cold science language) about how the image was taken with special cameras and filters that enhance the colors to approximate how humans would see them. Which is a wonderful thing, really. It means not only did we send this little robot a hundred million kilometers away, but we made it do something poignant and human and made sure that we designed it to appreciate that poignancy with “human” eyes.

I want to sit with that for a moment. I want to just simply appreciate how small we all are and how so many of the problems we cause for ourselves here on this little planet are incredibly trivial compared to the inconceivable vastness of space.

At yet, despite or because of that, I nevertheless feel humbled and deeply grateful for what I do have in this life. For my family and friends and my home and of course Dana. That what we do have, even the stuff that isn’t “perfect” is still good and ours and something that ought not be taken for granted.

Hm. I think I’ve finally been able to get that Thanksgiving Day entry out. So here it is.

And while I’m at it, changing the subject and all, this past Sunday Dana and I did attend the Bodhi Day celebration at my temple. Which was wonderful and nerve-wracking all at once. It’s been a damn long time since I did anything distinctly “Buddhist” with someone I was dating; and I’ve never taken anyone with me to my temple. So it was wonderful to share that with her. Even if it did make me a bit self-conscious. But even that I love. I love it all, all these little reminders of my own humanity. Of my status as just another person with all the attendant frailties and potentialities. But I’m rambling. And I’ve lost my train of thought.

So I’ll just sum up by reminding everyone to look at the stars tonight and catch a sunset if you can.