Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Daisy,Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Do...

I keep track of asteroids. They’re interesting to me. When I look at the above image, there’s a little fear, a little thrill. My human solipsism is confounded by the idea of a universe without us. Walking across the suspension bridge the other day (before they shut it down) I looked at our beautiful little city and found it unimaginable that it would one day be gone. All of the bridges down, all of the windows blown out. Ohio used to be underwater. A walk along the evolutionary stones at Sawyer Point illustrates that nicely.

So the next potential planet killer is a little asteroid named Apophsis. Apophis is the Greek name for the Egyptian god of destruction. Perhaps it’s appropriate. It’s a little dramatic for my taste; I prefer Daisy.

Apophsis, sensationalism aside, is expected to be another in a long line of near misses. Only if it passes through what is called a ’gravitational keyhole’ as it zooms past us in 2026, could it cause a problem, creating a highly probable collision in the year 2036.

Why is all of this so appealing to me? How can it not be? If you allow yourself to slip from the Summer Blockbuster angle, step past the survival fantasy, override the slight tingling in your death instinct, there are good reasons to contemplate both your own, and the Earth’s, ultimate revelation. Such considerations aren’t, at least on my part, purely morbid, nor are they some kind of Hicksian yearning for Arizona Bay. While as humans we surely fall short, I don’t eagerly anticipate some kind of cosmic come-uppance.

There’s at least metaphoric rock at the end of both mine, and the Earth’s life. While it can be unsettling to consider, it helps keep me on point, and adds a poignancy to the sound of red, yellow and orange leaves rustling in the fall, so beautiful, and so close to their ends.

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