We are here

A National Geographic issue published in late-1999 came with a “special map supplement” featuring the map of the known universe, and on it´s flip side, a big picture of the Milky Way riddled with diagrams and notes and whatnots. There on the inner rim of the Orion Arm spinning outward from the red-hot galactic center is an arrow with a tag saying, We are here- pointing at the Earth.
I had it framed then hang it on the wall above my bed and it´s become a kind of mantra to me, every time before I go to bed, plunging deep into infinity and yet, We are here.

It gives me, as I found out later on, a sense of perspective, it places things where things belong, it´s a bit frightening at first because there´s this vast openness of space all around us with bits chunks of matter thrown in almost at random here and there, it´s Paul Bowles´ the sheltering sky times a hundred, and we´re alone.

Ah. The dialectic of outer space unfolds!
Here´s the notion of humility that comes from utter loneliness against infinity itself, but also the sheer thrill of the manifest-destiny as taking the universe as our own playground to plunder under the birthright of, well, being able to.
Statistically speaking there´s no way we´re the only intelligent species out there, but until Mr. Spock proves me wrong… c´mon, little green men? Grow up.

We are here still. This is me living in the same dot on the map as say, Jane Mansfield and Bruce Springsteen and the 1939 New York´s World Fair (it´s a personal fantasy of mine, so what, slightly chronologically-challenged but it´s still valid, isn´t it? Me & Jane Mansfield going at it, at the fairgrounds in ´39, maybe during a Springsteen concert circa ´85? Is that asking too much? Oh yes, and I´m wearing a red ´The Flash´ T-shirt, too- She´s not wearing anything except for stilettos, naturally!)

We are here still, as Jack Kerouac once said, “down on dark Earth, before we all go to Heaven”.

I feel safe every time I look at that poster- the Milky Way- and us, a tiny dot on the map, being here together yet alone against the nothingness of creation itself.
We are here, but where are you?