I was having one of my silent conversations recently about the concept of infinity. Any in-depth examination about that concept will at some point make your head feel like it is going to evaporate. The notion seems bigger than our brains can hold. There are some other ideas that have a similar effect. What happens to us after death, or imagining how old the universe is. The ocean is on that list for me, too. And on that note thinking a while on Fermi’s paradox and Drake’s equation. It is all heady stuff.
Take for instance, that you can stand there and watch the waves roll across its surface and figure that the number of waves that will ever roll across the ocean is essentially an infinite number. The waves started at some point a long long time ago, when the most advanced life on this planet were simple-celled organisms swimming in a primordial soup and the waves will continue to roll quite possibly long after humanity has either ceased to exist or long left this planet; they will roll in until some point in the far future when the Sun finally expands and crisps this ball of rock, evaporating these massive bodies of water. Use those parameters then to try to imagine just how many waves there will have been. And if that consideration wasn’t big enough, take the clouds. We watch them play across our horizon, not even aware that our clouds are sometimes just the toes of giant systems that spin across vast surfaces of our oceans… spaces so vast that they are some of the few places where we can actually see the curvature of the Earth. How big does something have to be that you can see the curve of the planet within it? And those clouds, so immense they can cover whole cities – cities that dwarf us and themselves are dwarfed by these clouds, which in turn are often dwarfed in size by the oceans they drift over.
And yes, I think about all this or some mix of it when I stand there looking at scenes like this. It is all so vast and immense, either in terms of distance, or time or depth that I am lost no matter which measure I use, but lost in a way that is strangely comforting and terrible all at once.
Such is the ever changing view.
Where are the moments I once knew?