This post was originally scheduled to go up yesterday, but I pulled it to write a few more thoughts. Then last night, Jonathan told me physicist Stephen Hawking — at the age of 76 — passed away.
While this post wasn’t originally (and technically still isn’t) about him, it feels fitting to take a brief moment and mention how thankful I am as I sit remembering Stephen and everything he did in service of science and the study of our universe. He once said:
My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
More than anyone who came before you, Mr. Hawking, you succeeded — and the world is better because of it. Rest in Peace.
As the cold and rain and drudgery of packing has kept us bundled up inside more and more, we are often looking for the occasional Netflix offering suitable for Fay to watch but not hold her attention too closely.
Turns out, a favorite show of ours was the perfect thing.
When it first aired in 2014, Jonathan and I devoured Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the follow-up to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage from 1980.
I remember us waking up on Saturday mornings, prepping coffee and settling onto the couch with breakfast, and pulling up the show on Hulu. To me, the show was an escape, but simultaneously I walked away more educated about the complexities of science and more appreciative of our incredible planet, solar system, galaxy, and universe.
Have you seen the show? Simply put: I recommend it.
Watching the whole series again, it also struck me especially hard what a tumultuous journey it has been for the human race to overcome the frivolities of politics and religion and a mountain of other obstacles in pursuit of scientific truth… and how we are faced, even now, with such a long way still to go.
It would not be altogether difficult to also come away from Cosmos feeling overwhelmed and saddened by the state of our planet as it slowly succumbs to the damages of climate change. (Reversible, yes — but not for long.)
Preserving our planet is not about saving the Earth; it’s about saving ourselves. It — and the universe — will continue to exist with or without us, after all.
I was thrilled to learn recently that Cosmos is finally getting a second season and it sounds like I wasn’t the only viewer dealing with the inner battle of ‘inspired’ vs. ‘hopeless’! About the new season, writer and scientist Ann Druyan says:
‘Cosmos’ has a view of the future which I believe has the power to inspire people. So much of what we see and so much of what our kids and grandchildren see is so dystopic and despairing. It’s like … our punishment for all our sins is just around the corner, and humanity doesn’t have a future except the one that’s choking and dying. And in ‘Cosmos’ we imagine the future that we can still have.
Our world and the vastness of space — a profoundly incomprehensible expanse of unknown wonders — have long since been a tenet of my own personal spirituality. In my mind, what could be more powerful than a recognition of our altogether small yet absolutely miraculous lives? Our existence here, in this place and time, is sheer luck.
My goodness, how lucky we are.
I’ll leave you to the rest of your day with one of my all-time favorite things — a song I found seven years ago and have played on what feels like a near-constant loop since.
(Photo credits: Owl Cluster (NGC 457) by Ben Bright; Milky Way by Rob Mikulec; V838 Monocerotis Red Supergiant from Hubble Space Telescope. Video by melodysheep.)
2 thoughts on “A Still More Glorious Dawn Awaits”
My heart swells when I hear the Carl Sagan remix track. I remember one day I was having the worst day at work, and I just played that on repeat, and it lifted my spirits beyond description. Truly a sound bath for the mind & soul.
“A morning filled with 400 billion suns…” <3
“… and the rising of the Milky Way.”