So — the gentle ripple of a cataclysmic collision billions of years ago and billions of light years away has reached us. Yes, stars explode. Black holes exist and they collide — drawn together by super-sized gravitational forces. Did planets exist near those holes? Well — not near — but were there some planets in their general local neighborhood? Could those neighbors hear the collision in their skies? If no one hears two black holes colliding do they make a sound? And now that we know they make some sort of sound — would it — could it be heard by an ear — the sorts of ears we have on earth?
If there were neighbors– say a few hundred light years away — would they be sucked in to that obliterating cosmic tango? Further out, might there be solar systems where the planets were all knocked off their tidy orbits? bouncing apart like so many brightly colored superballs vanishing into the deeps? And further from that in other solar systems might the planets, and even their sun, been disturbed by a jolt — gentle enough to keep them on their course for a time — but waving in the cosmic darkness like so many colored balls swinging on a rotating mobile over a baby’s crib? And after a time, could that swinging bring on new life or destroy systems?
One way or another, we are not alone. Together we turn on our precious planet in infinite space as though we are still at the center of the universe. As though we are the sole masters of our destinies. As though our differences and conflicts matter more than the existential and ultimate reality: we are small and precious creatures suspended precariously in a universe that is always changing –always engaged in the cycle of birth and death. But we are here together on what many have called “lifeboat Earth.”
If only the ripple of that ancient collision could awaken us as we float in space. Awaken us to our shared fate. Awaken us to our common terra-filial (related as kin on earth) natures. Awaken us.