What are we, really? What is our essence? Is it distinct?
What a burning question! How we long to know that we are special, unique, inimitable and eternal in some way. Our egos seek definition, boundaries and refinements. This is me! That’s not me! But is that really how the Universe is made up?
Carl Sagan says that we are made of star stuff. Ah! What a beautiful idea, connecting us with the cosmos, the eternal past and the eternal future. Thich Nhat Hahn says that we are ‘continuations’, the recycling of energy into life. Environmental education seeks to instill the understanding that we are a part of, not apart from, the natural world.
I love that today is a day for celebrating those connections. All Saints’ Day, Dia de los Muertos, Steve’s Birthday, my sister Dharam’s Birthday, all of those holy notions come together today. We ‘inter-are’, we interconnect, we are interdependent with all forms of life. It so happens that those born on this day share the zodiac sign of Scorpio. That reminds me that we are interconnected with forms of life that are not human. And somewhat scary. I saw my first wild scorpion in Texas one week ago. He was promenading around in the light of the bathroom facility at Guadalupe National Park’s Dog Canyon campground in the middle of the night. I was making a night visit without a flashlight but aided by the starry host. Had he not been directly under the security light, I would have missed him. He was pale and small, and I walked right past him in my drowsy stupor. It wasn’t until I was ensconced in the bathroom that it dawned on me. “That was a real scorpion!” By the time I emerged, he had moved on. I was sorry I missed a better look. And I wish I had a photograph.
The manifestations of star stuff that we get to see are fleeting and fascinating. Enjoy them. Look long and hard. Take pictures if you like. You may never see this combination again. And you will see other combinations to delight you instead. What a thing to celebrate!
Happy Birthday, Steve!
© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved