Philosophy | Poetry

Making a Splash

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet—
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day,
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space . . .
You must grieve for this right now
—you have to feel this sorrow now—
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say “I lived”. . .
– Nazim Hikmet, On Living

Skipping along the surface of Lake Winnipesaukee, the hull sliced through the wake of another boat, creating spray that flew off the port and starboard sides, water molecules momentarily flying once again before rejoining the lake. The likelihood of catching these particular molecules of water shining in the sun in their one brilliant moment is exceedingly remote. But we treat it with indifference because it’s something we’ve seen hundreds of times.

This business of living is a miracle in a cold, indifferent universe. This defiant act of being born and surviving into adulthood, at this moment, on this particular series of trips around the sun for Earth, is an extraordinarily random circumstance. More random than capturing these particular water droplets dancing with the sky. We’re all just randomly formed molecules and energy brought together for our one momentary dance with the universe.

So what do we do with such information, should we recognize it? Celebrate it? Ignore it? Become overwhelmed by it?

We might choose to act on it. To embrace our brief moment between the earth and the sky and live. To the best of our ability, while we can. Make a splash in this moment with the sun.

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