|By Bob Weaver|
A number of years ago, I wrote: "Lying flat and gazing at the stars from the pastures and meadows around the Joker Ridge was a summer pastime of the country boys around Hur, opening their universal wonderment that nagged with their devils of dubious excitement."
"To fly faster than any bird or plane and crash though the misty clouds above us, go to the planets and distant galaxies and discover the nature of the universe and God."
Now in the 21st century, well over 65 years later, a virtue of living in the Calhoun forest is the lack of luminescence from brightly lit metropolitan areas, giving plain view to the mysteries of the universe.
That clear view has brought amateur astronomers to the county these past 20 years, after a satellite photo revealed we are one of few dark spots in America for such activity.
While the incredulous sight of the night sky has not changed, the knowledge about the universe has.
Scientists are now saying there may be 17 billion earth-size planets out there among 100 billion planets, according to a mind-blowing report just issued by the American Astronomical Society.
Such information should be helpful to put life on earth in perspective. All things need to be put in context, otherwise we indulge in a flight of fancy.
The context here surely has something to do with our minuscule place in the universe, or indeed what role we play as living beings on our tiny planet.
Physicists have often implied we live in an orderly universe and human life is part of that order, but many are now saying there is much disorder across the galaxies, often on the edge of chaos.
Certainly, when we look at how humankind is eating-up our natural resources, and cluttering our environment with our cast-off debris like there is no tomorrow, the extractors and government minions lend their hand to support our society of conspicuous consumption.
Conspicuous consumption is the short-sighted use of resources, products and entertainment to enhance creature comfort, upon which the nation's economy is built.
When things go bad with that consumption, politicians blame each other or declare the problem an act of God.
While most of the world's credible scientists have said we are moving into a time of global warming and climate change, which will wreak havoc on Planet Earth and humankind, the fossil-fuel money folks and their political friends have chosen to blame God, calling it a natural event, which is to declare the situation unpreventable.
Hundreds of the worlds leading climate scientists have signed on to the global warming problem, except in America there is political and corporate polarization against it.
A teacher friend said recently, "We are most likely to destroy ourselves in our own shit, but we will not likely blame ourselves."
Physicist Paul Halpern said recently that Earth's special role as the only known home of life should make people stop killing each other and focus instead on preserving the plant "like a garden of rare orchids."
In the meantime, I will wander out out at night and look up to God's creation, and not blame God.
Looking upward for answers, it might be worthy to reflect on what Cassius said in a Shakespeare play: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."