Suspended in a sunbeam

Carl Sagan (d. 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, author and one of those people who believed in the existence of extraterrestrial life.  To be honest, I have not heard nor read of him in any way or form, but I did see the movie Contact, which was based on the novel he wrote.  I loved Jodi Foster there, and the gap where she talked and travelled time was documented as a mere drop of a hat in human hours.

And then I saw a print from Pinterest and I looked him up.  Sagan led quite an interesting life; I think I was so drawn to his fascination for basically everything.

Plainly, the world held wonders of a kind I had never guessed. How could a tone become a picture and light become a noise?

I was transfixed by the dioramas — lifelike representations of animals and their habitats all over the world. Penguins on the dimly lit Antarctic ice; … a family of gorillas, the male beating his chest, … an American grizzly bear standing on his hind legs, ten or twelve feet tall, and staring me right in the eye.

I went to the librarian and asked for a book about stars … And the answer was stunning. It was that the Sun was a star but really close. The stars were suns, but so far away they were just little points of light … The scale of the universe suddenly opened up to me. It was a kind of religious experience. There was a magnificence to it, a grandeur, a scale which has never left me. Never ever left me.

I wonder now when I lost my curiosity for things.  How I stopped and when I stopped imagining and accepting the fact that some things are bigger than my hair, my weight gain, my shopping, my bills, and whatever shit I can come up with.  That the world revolves, with or without me, never around me.  And it is quite humbling to have stumbled upon something so grounded that the fine line between imagination and reality is a mere mark of a felt pen that easily rubs off in your attempts to see what’s under it.

Brilliant mind.  I’m quite sad I missed him.


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