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A Pinprick In Time

Updated on February 12, 2010

Where are you right now? Look around. I’m on my bungalow porch, the waves crashing below, a breeze tinkling the wind chimes over my head. I am alive, my skin is warm, there are two freshly potted plants sitting on the chair across from me. My heart is beating. So is yours. We are awake, aware. We have choices, every single moment. If you close your eyes and pay attention, you can feel the blood moving through your body, pulsing at your wrists, behind your ears. You can call up your boyfriend, tell him that you love him, or water the flowers in your backyard. You can barbeque chicken, and read a good book. You can quit your job tomorrow. Yes, you can. You can apologize to your son, and ask for his forgiveness. You can sell your house and fly to Bali. Even if you’re homeless, you can give a smile to a stranger. You can hum a tune, Amazing Grace. Run your hands through your hair. Try on a smile. Wiggle your toes. Anything is possible. Walk out to the window, look at the stars. Pile your kids in the car and drive to the mountains, jump in a cold stream! Tell that person that you care about them, take a chance. Ask her out on a date. Cook him a homemade dinner, put candles on the floor and windowsills. Make love. Write a book.

In this moment, we are alive. Have you ever considered how miraculous that is? We have the capacity to see lights and colors, to taste food, to feel the coolness of water in our throats. The world is a sensory offering, to be tasted and touched and experienced. It is a game to be played, an experiment in progress. How much joy can you find? With how much grace are you able to overcome challenges? Breathe. Feel your belly rising and falling. You are here, now. It’s amazing.

As I write this, I’m lying in a hammock, a green cloth hammock that cradles my body and sways slightly as I type. If I turn out the light… switch… the constellations turn on, and the waves seem to become louder. Look at the stars. If you look long enough, the stars always throw you for a loop. They dwarf us, frighten us, inspire us to quit our jobs. They make us feel ancient and newborn all at once. They are a tunnel through time, connecting the Big Bang to the dinosaurs to the cavemen to you and I. They will burn into the unfathomable Future, steady but impersonal. They don’t know your name, or mine. They don’t care. But they are witnesses, landmarks that remind us where we are, how tiny. The stars keep us humble, keep us wondering.

Let us try to fathom the ages for a moment. The Big Bang. It could have been yesterday, but History tells us that it came long before. And then what? Blackness, blackness, blackness. Planets spinning off, stars being born. Ether forming, galaxy-sized clouds of dust. Black holes. And eventually, a small planet, green and blue. Fish pulling themselves out of the ocean, growing legs, hands. Crawling. Consciousness, not yet conscious of itself. Later, huge creatures stalking the earth, long necks, bat-like wings, marbled eggs the size of houses. A meteor, a massive drought, a catastrophe. Extinction. And then, Neanderthals. Sloped foreheads, clubbing beasts. Meanwhile, the continents are breaking apart, reshaping the oceans, an inch at a time. Ice Ages, Dark Ages, Stone Ages. Jesus pads barefoot through Jerusalem. Islam leads a crusade across Europe, entire nations convert in name, if not in heart. The Renaissance. Shakespeare penning sonnets and world-famous plays. Romeo and Juliet. Macbeth and Hamlet and Ophelia. Meanwhile in Asia, concubines bathe in flower-scented water, their long legs dripping as they emerge, wet dreams. A gleaming green parrot chirps from a golden-gilded cage. Enlightenment happens in shadowy corners, under inconspicuous trees. Saints rise and fall. Electricity is plucked out of crackling, static air. Bills are stamped, currencies circulate. The Statue of Liberty crosses the Atlantic, Irish immigrants flood Ellis Island. Little Italy appears in New York, houses pop up on Park Avenue. Time, time, time, ticks away.


You are reading these words on a computer screen. Look around you. Feel the air. Are there plants in the room? Are you wearing socks, or shoes? Do you feel your stomach growling, are you aware of the endless flow of thoughts in your mind? What kind of mood are you in? Do you hear the waves? Consider the weight of history- the shaping and melting of glaciers, the shifting of continents, wars, love affairs, the greening of trees, the dying of leaves, plagues, heartbreaks, princesses and dictators, Robin Hoods, genocides, Neitzches, grand inventions, Unborn Genesis and Endless Time.

Can you see the meteors hurtling through space? Hear the echo of silence? Somewhere, beneath us, encoded in our DNA, there is a vibration of peace, of stillness. Infinite, tiny mirrors reflecting the vast mirror of All That Is. Can you feel it? The connectedness? Can you sense that you are standing on the quivering edge of a bottomless abyss, on the razor’s edge of Infinity? Skip… Hop… Tip, Tap, Toe! You are a gift. This life is a gift, a pinprick in Time. You are a star in an ever-unfolding quilt of space, endless, timeless space. Or, to look at it another way:

From The Blackness of Eternity Comes This…

Right Now.

And you, here. It doesn’t matter if you’re seven or seventy. You are alive. You have been given a life. What are you going to do with it?

*** To read more travel-inspired writing, go to:


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      Sheila 7 years ago

      Wonderful - profound and simple, all at the same time.