May 3, 2008

when the world ends

it has been far too long since my last post. mainly because i believe that no one reads them and also because i have been consumed with my full time hobby of picture taking. it is also worth mentioning that my friend kylie is amazing and i want to spend all of my free time with her, rather then sitting behind a computer screen trying to find words for the ideas in my head which typically have no words.... with that being said i will now attempt to explain the idea i had last night :

it was 12:30 am and i was driving down tanner road. this road used to scare me at night time because it is very long and windey, and if i were to ever break down on it, i would be walking for a very long time in the dark, and no one would be able to help me or let alone see me, since it is far removed from thru traffic and void of any street lights.

but tonight i was not scared and as i made my way around the first long curve i looked up at where the oaks bent away from the power lines and saw how they made an opening for the sky to pour in. the beauty of this struck me and i had to slow my speed down to watch the sky. something was special about tonight.

it was clearer than usual and i could see the milky way.

(some people think the milky way is a long line of stars, but it isn't. our galaxy is a huge disk of stars millions of light years across. and the solar system is somewhere near the outside edge of this disk.)

then i noticed that i was basically idling along the side of the road and decided that i should pull over and get out of my car to get a better look. i didn't really feel like walking in the weeds, but i knew that i would probably look back on this moment and regret not taking my time to study the sky.

so i did. i pulled my car into a field and turned the engine off so that i could hear everything you hear in the dead of night. i walked north-east ish towards the big dipper and found a patch of grass that wasn't 2 feet tall and sat down to get a better look. most people don't understand how important your gazing is when studying the sky. you see, when you look up at the sky in a 90 degree angle, you can not see nearly as many stars as you would if you looked in a 45 degree angle. this is because at a 90 degree angle you are looking into the main body of the galaxy, and because the galaxy is a disk you will only see a stripe of stars.

so i sat there for a moment and let the darkness envelop me. it was comforting really, like a massive sheet covering me entirely, protecting me from the light, and bugs, and people, and passing cars. i noticed how the night was not still at all and i watched as the sky glittered and moved above me in a sway as if to say "thank you" for paying attention to me. i flexed my eyesight to try and focus on the very distant distance, and once they were adjusted to the night i was able to see things i had not seen minutes earlier.

how in the world is the night sky so dark? this has always puzzled me. there are billions of stars in the universe, stars in every direction you look. the sky should be full of starlight because there is very little else in the way to stop the light from reaching earth.

i had to consider this and then i found my answer. our universe is always expanding so that the stars are all rushing away from one another and the further the stars are away from us the faster they are moving. some of them nearly as fast as the speed of light, which is why their light never reaches us.

it was easier for me to conceive this fact since i was staring right at it. it also made me feel good about myself. although i am a terrible speller and struggle with simple maths i am able to grasp the physics of the universe just by looking at the sky above my head and thinking without having to ask anyone.

there are tons of theories on how the world will end. i stretched my legs and leaned back onto my elbows and thought about a few of them. i've never really put too much thought into apocalyptic manifesto's other than the acknowledgement that it will someday happen, and this is only because it has to. it is simple science. mostly, i think about how i want to stick around on earth long enough to see this catastrophe, and to be a part of the most beautiful and tragic event to take place in the history of life.

someday the universe is going to finish exploding and all the stars will slow down. like a ball that has been thrown into the air they will come to a halt and then they will all begin to fall toward the center of the universe. and then there will be nothing to stop us from seeing all the stars in the world because they will all be moving toward us, gradually faster and faster, and we will know that the world is going to end soon because when we look up into the sky at night there will be no darkness, just the blazing light of billions and billions of stars, all falling.


  1. aww coles, this was precious. for the record though, our solar system isnt quite on the edge of the milky way.. its somwhere between the center and the edge of the galaxy.. ps did u know they discovered that there is actually a black hole at the center of our galaxy?

  2. Hey. Just found you. Love your sense of style, taste in music, and eye.

    I never write anyone like this.
    But there you go.