A galaxy of possibilities


“How Big is Big”

How big is big? How small is small?

Does anybody know?

If you went to infinity,

Then how far would you go?

The universe is standing still.

I’ll tell you this is so,

‘Cause as it includes everything,

There’s no place it can go!

And if it did, how could you tell

That it had moved at all,

With nothing to compare it to

To judge its rise or fall.

How big is big? How small is small?

I only know that we

Will never comprehend the scope

Of sweet infinity.

The foregoing is from a slightly longer poem, which I wrote several years ago. We live on the planet Earth. It is one of several of planets orbiting the sun. The sun is a star, a globe of fire. I seem to recall that you can tell our planets from the stars from the fact that stars have their own fire so their light is steady, but planets surrounding a star, like our Saturn, Mars, or Venus, only reflect the light from the sun, and consequently tend to twinkle, because of the variations in their reflected light.

Science is forever exploring space. To their credit they study only what they can experience or see, and are not prone to speculate. Consequently as they develop bigger and better telescopes, they increase the size of the universe accordingly. In my opinion, (which may not be good for much), I don’t think the universe has any size limit. What could possibly be beyond forever besides more universe? We cannot number the stars in the heavens. No one will ever know how many there are, and we shall never truly know how big the universe is.

The star “alpha Centauri” is the next star nearest to us after the sun. It is the brightest star in the constellation Centaurus. It is four light years away. That means that if you traveled at the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second, it would take you four years to get there. Can we even imagine that distance? All other stars are further away.

It would seem that such distances would cancel out any hope of anyone from earth of ever going to a planet orbiting any other star in the universe, at least not by material means. There must be untold numbers of planets orbiting other stars, which are hospitable to life. Do we really believe that we are the only planet in an infinity of planets which harbor life of any kind. We will never know. Perhaps were aren’t supposed to.

I would not be surprised to learn that there are many planets who are far more advanced than we on earth, and perhaps others who still harbor dinosaurs and cave men. I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m only supposing about what none of us know.

Imagination might even see life as graduating from one planet to continue growth on one representing the next grade, as progression in school from one grade to another, even sometimes repeating a failed grade, until one has graduated into the bliss of completeness. I better quit, before I get too deep into fantasy. There’s enough of that floating around already.

The only thing we can really know, is that the cooperating organization of everything, can only come from an unfailing, controlling, all knowing, intelligence, which gives meaning to life. May God bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com