It is hard enough to see things that are really really far away, but when you consider the fact you actually see things that happened before your race even existed, and try to understand what it means about what is happening today? Well, that's just magic, isn’t it?
I would really like to tear a new one for astrophysics but I will not. For one reason, and one reason only. Whenever I meet an astrophysicist, or see one in a documentary or interview, I see something beautiful in their eyes. Poetry. Ok, not poetry, after all these are people who spend a lot of time stuck looking at whiteboards or just looking at the sky with awe. But that is the point. They might not be poets but that awe is something I can relate to, or at least something I can appreciate.
I have absolutely no idea how the universe works, how it started or even what is it made of. For all I know black holes are full of marshmallows and light doesn’t pass through them because of the quantum 'smore effect. Does it really matter? Not to me. And the truth? Most astrophysicist will see their grandchildren's children buried in the ground before anyone can prove any of the theories they have today.
It is a noble thing trying to understand what is really happening out there, and I do mean OUT there. Way way way out there. So out there it is almost back here from the other side. It takes courage to dive into the deep water of the big blue. Oops. The big black. Eh. The big …colorless? Emptiness? The spooky matter at the corners of the universe as Einstein used to call it.
The reason I am so soft about these guys is that if we all look back at our childhood, I dare you to find me one person, one single person who didn’t spend at least one night of his life lying on his back, be it in a camping trip, on an ocean's beach or even on the roof of some apartment house, lying there facing that big dark blanket dotted with millions of tiny tiny little diamonds shining at you, sparkling in some unknown promise of what is not here, not close, not known, something else.
If you are lucky, you saw a falling star, a trail of light, a wish. Does it really matter that stars don’t really "fall" ? does it matter most of them are not even "stars"? not to me.
When you wish upon a star. And we all did.
It is a lonely life being an astrophysicist. Just you and the visual illusion of the universe as we see it. just you and billions of dots, billions of potential magic places, with life, without life, made of rock, made of gas, frozen, boiling, places that stopped existing millions of years ago and seem to not know it yet, still burning small holes in your soul, letting light shine through that thick layer of nothingness.
It is a lonely life. If you don’t get it.
If you do? It is much better spending time with stars that still don’t know that they don’t exist anymore, then with crowds of people who will never know they never existed to begin with.
It's a magic place. A magic moment. Astrophysicists are not the magician. Not even close. They are the nerdy kid who looks with eyes torn open at the magic trick trying to understand what is happening. What can I say. I like that kid.