5 AM and Star Gazing

It’s early for a weekend. The dogs have been let out to relieve themselves and my wife has triumphed over another middle-of-the-night-blow-out diaper. My youngest daughter, Echo, sits in my lap as I write this. She is mesmerized by the screen but not tired enough to go back to sleep. Stephanie snores next to me unaware of my twitching fingers.

My thoughts turn to the stars I was gazing at a few moments ago, and I wonder where we all fit in this infinite universe. What is humanities role? Are we meant to traverse the heavens or doomed to forever wander through the dirt? It makes me feel small on the cosmic scale because we are less than a blink in its lifetime.

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Laniakea is the name scientists are giving to the super-cluster of galaxies our Milky Way exists in. It means ‘immeasurable heaven,’ and rightfully so. A new map of the known universe shows where we are located within it. Our super-cluster alone is supposed to contain 100,000 galaxies. In comparison, we are a speck of dust in someones house in a neighborhood of 100,000 homes. We are tiny.

Echo yawns and snuggles into my belly, and I can’t help but smile. Ever since I became a dad for the first time and every time thereafter, my perspective on the world has changed, grown. It’s funny how the universe can be so overwhelmingly large, yet a single child can let you know exactly where you fit in the grand scheme of all things.