Personal Meditations on The Cosmos, Life

universe

I was born upon a drifting particle of iron orbiting a G-type main-sequence star. The particle is approximately twenty-five thousand light-years from the galactic center of the Milky Way. The star is located in the Orion Spur of the Milky Way galaxy, at the coordinates X:-25996 Y:+29 X:-49. The entire Milky Way is a cell forming the body of the local galactic group, which is comprised of almost fifty other galaxies. This galactic group is itself a cell within the Virgo Supercluster; over one hundred galaxy groups and clusters compact to form its roughly thirty three megaparsecs’ worth of length. It is one among sixty clusters which merge to manifest the Pisces–Cetus Supercluster Complex, a galactic filament among a hundred billion others producing the foam-like superstructure of the Observable Universe.

Beyond these parameters, light older than thirteen point seven billion years has yet to extend; aeons to come promise a universe far broader in scope than even the one I currently occupy.

I am composed of sixty five percent oxygen, eighteen percent carbon, ten percent hydrogen, three percent nitrogen, two percent calcium, one percent phosphorus, point three percent sulfur, point two percent sodium, point two percent chlorine, and point one percent magnesium – although I contain fourteen other trace elements of less than point one percent. Ninety nine percent of me is comprised of the six foremost elements; point eighty-five percent comprises the other eighteen. All are necessary for me to exist.

As early as four point four billion years ago, foreign bodies pelting my particle’s surface deposited liquid hydrogen in its atmosphere and upon its surface in proportions sufficient to pockmark its face with early oceans. From the raw materials left by the egg of earth and spermatozoa from the cosmos, I drafted the last universal ancestor – a simplistic prokaryote, lacking even a proper nucleus to house the precious DNA that would go on to code all other life.

I fermented for billions of years, enduring the constant onslaught of asteroid impacts, volcanic outbursts and an anaerobic environment until enough of me had formed to fight back. The star my particle orbits shone less brightly then; as aeons passed, temperatures cooled, and the star’s rays pierced the dense, heavy atmosphere, I learned to convert its precious light-energy into the resources I needed to survive. As a bi-product, I formed oxygen, which clung to limestone, iron, and other minerals until it was ready to oxidize above the water. Upon its release, the world reshaped. A great purge occurred. The parts of me that thrived in the time of darkness could no longer survive in the oxygen-rich environment.

My trials were not yet over. Although I went on to continue photosynthesizing, the oxygen I produced reacted with the methane in the atmosphere to form carbon monoxide, whose properties as a greenhouse gas are far less effective. My particle plummeted into a period of ice. Others would follow, delaying my flourishing until five hundred and forty two million years ago.

Then, abruptly, I exploded into being. I assumed millions of unique forms. I adopted hard shells, bones, organs, and skin. I took to the ocean and the land. I perceived the majesty and enormity of my mother Earth through billions of subjective perspectives – her wrath, her compassion, and even her cruel indifference. I knew her to nurture for some aeons, and cruelly purge in others. Whether she reclaimed my raw parts for future generations or enabled their formation into multitudes of life in the current, each becoming more complex and magnificent than the last, I never fully departed.

Now, my presence on this particle is undisputed. I am born, die, and am reborn again. I create anew from the material of the old, behold my own divinity through billions of lifetimes, and cast my ambitious gaze upon the cosmic grandeur that lay beyond this place.

I anticipate a future in which the very small interfaces with the very large, perceiving – at long last – infinity.

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