A Sky Full of Sun and Stars
Before the beginning was the night. And the night was without boundaries and the night was without end.
In the beginning was time. The relentless beat in which things could happen, in which everything could become, dust could coalesce, matter could exist.
In that coming together, the universe was possible, all versions of it. In it, people could dream and die. In it, stars burned and flared and went out.
- Neil Gaiman, Overture-04, A Madness of Stars
Where did we come from? I remember once watching a documentary about circles. It began somewhere in Venice, with children skipping with circles they use in the circus. Taking that circle as a starting point, film proceeded to increase the diameter of the circle tenfolds. And so with each increase, the circle held Venice, and Europe, and Earth. Within a few leaps, it had reached the boundaries of the known universe.
Then there was a reverse trip as the circles got smaller and smaller till we went inside molescules and atoms and encountered a different universe. Microcosm indeed. And then the other day I read this article about the role of galactic storms in the creation of new galaxies, which meant that the matter that created the Milky Way could have come from distant galaxies as intergalactic transfer resulting from Supernova explosions.
“Given how much of the matter out of which we formed may have come from other galaxies, we could consider ourselves space travelers or extragalactic immigrants,” said Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, a postdoctoral fellow in Northwestern’s astrophysics center, CIERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics), who led the study."
“What this new mode implies is that up to one-half of the atoms around us—including in the solar system, on Earth and in each one of us—comes not from our own galaxy but from other galaxies, up to one million light years away,”
“Our origins are much less local than we previously thought,”
In what kind of scale is the Milky Way or even the Solar System considered local? And here we are, fighting over our place at the water cooler queue. But when you consider the sheer wonder of it all- when you look at the night sky and wonder if the tiniest smaller-than-microscopic part of you came from one of those stars, doesn't it suddenly bring the mystery and the magic back to life? How many stars died at the right time and in the right order so perhaps one day all the matter that makes us what we are, whatever it is that we are could coalesce and combine to create the solar system so we could have life? Isn't that a miracle?
We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins,
Carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains.
93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames,
We are all just stars that have people names.
- Nikita Gill, 93 Percent Stardust
Imagine if everything- every particle, molecule, atom had consciousness. And memory. Do you think we remember, deep down, in the most minuscule circles- where we came from? Is that why we draw pictures in the sky, shaping myths and histories and stories? And is that why the condition of exile is so rooted in our myths and origin stories? Because after all we are all cosmic exiles travelling far from home?
Do you think we can ever go back?