Overwhelmed

Glad you could join us for the next obligatory episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…

Elliot O
Photo credit: Uda Dennie

One by one, the ducks bobbed upright aiming toward the mossy knoll. Unable to see their faces, Elliot waited, anxiety swelling within his chest, squeezing his frozen heart with an iron fist of dread.

“What happened?” he shouted. “Is she safe?”

James and Juliet clambered up the bank. Lorenzo returned to the boat.

“Sorry, dude. Juliet yoinked her away from Archy, but she’s just lyin’ there.”

“Take me to her,” Elliot demanded. “Please,” he softened, “Please. Take me to shore.”

Lorenzo offered his bill for Elliot to board, and they crossed the water in silence.

Their heads bowed, Juliet and James stood over the petite unmoving form, sunlight glinting off her wet shell. Lorenzo lowered his beak, and Elliot slid into the shallows, forging a path to her side, tears swimming in his eyes.

To be continued…

Previously, on Elliot’s Adventure ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Next time . . .

 

Today’s twofer from April 19, 2016:

Optical Delusion

Way back in the day, a 13 year old girl could walk herself home in the middle of the night from a babysitting job three blocks from her house. Can they still do that? Do 13 year old girls still babysit?

Well, way back then I was 13 and walking myself home from a babysitting job three blocks from my house, when I had an epiphany.

I was looking at the stars — even in the suburbs you could see a whole lot more of them back then — and I was thinking about how far away they were and how long they’d been out there. How I wasn’t even seeing them as they looked that night; I was seeing them as they looked maybe thousands of years ago. I could never see them as they looked right then.

But that wasn’t my epiphany.

Night sky 2
A long time ago, in our galaxy far, far away. . .

What if there were planets around some of those stars? (Today, we know there are, but way back then, we only imagined.) And what if even only one of those planets around one of those stars had intelligent life on it? Beings kind of like us. That star would be their sun, and however advanced their civilization was, if I could see them, I’d see them as they were thousands of years ago.

Anything could have happened during those thousands of years. Maybe they invented space travel. Maybe a few of them were on their way toward Sol, our sun, right now.

But that wasn’t my epiphany either.

Suppose their sun died. All the life on their planet would die. Hundreds of millions — maybe billions — of beings kind of like us would die. What would I see? Their sun, that little light so far away, would blink out. One moment it would be there, the next it wouldn’t. And it would have happened thousands of years ago.

Would it make any difference to the rest of the universe?

Even that wasn’t my epiphany.

Imagine they were the ones watching when the little light we call Sol blinked out, and the universe continued on. Who would care? Well, maybe the guys in their spaceship. But they’d already be thousands of years too late.

Perspective.

That was my epiphany.

What’s your perspective on our place in the universe? How about on our own planet?

#AtoZChallenge A-to-Z Fictioneers: Interested in original fiction? Here’s a list of writers who are writing stories for the 2017 A to Z Challenge. The author’s link will take you to their “A” post. If you know of any other story writers I can share, please drop the link in the comments!

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Author: Sue Ranscht

I am a writer. Let me tell you a story...

39 thoughts on “Overwhelmed”

  1. I think about those stars and the universe a great deal. I think about the untold distance between and how any and/or all of them could contain countless planets teeming with life. I also wonder what the universe is expanding into since everything is the universe, so what could possibly be beyond? I also know that if the sun were to go out, we wouldn’t know for the eight minutes it takes its light to reach us, and then I get a little panicky thinking about THAT one, because it could’ve happened right now, and we wouldn’t know right away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So many possibilities most of us probably don’t even imagine! Yeah, where does an expanding, infinite universe expand to? I think the concept of branes explains multi-verses, but then we have to accept dimensions we can’t visualize or identify with. It’s all so much bigger than we are. I hope you don’t worry too much about the sun going out — I think there will be signs for years and years that its end is imminent.

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      1. Hopefully, humanity will have gotten its act together by the time the sun is dying, and we’ll be long gone to the playgrounds of this galaxy or the others in the local group. I JUST finished Stephen Hawking’s The Universe in a Nutshell, so I know what branes are (or I have a rudimentary idea), and I’m okay accepting dimensions I can’t visualize. There’s way more knowledge and information out there than I’ll ever know, understand, or even be able to access. It’s why I can’t understand people who believe the earth is flat because they can’t imagine it whirling around through space. This is not to say you shouldn’t question everything and authority, but I tend to believe peer reviewed studies, and the earth being round has been an established fact for so long, it’s essentially a fundamental.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I suspect being a Flat Earther today is more about denying science for the sake of protest than it is about an honest belief that the world is flat. It’s impossible to argue with anyone who simply denies any proof or rational statement you offer them. They certainly can’t provide proof of their own claim. That reduces the argument to a waste of everyone’s time. I think they are frauds hiding behind a mask of True Belief. Poor spacial visualization skills don’t excuse denial of reality. lol

          I’ve only recently gotten a firm hold on a visual of Time as the fourth dimension. It involves a kind of invisibility-transparency-there-notthere quality, but I understand it. Finally. The idea of dimensions we can’t even imagine is fascinating. I accept their existence. My visual of multiverses incorporates three-dimensional universes in time, each projected onto a two-dimensional surface — like a shadow on a sidewalk — but allowing that the shadow functions as a three dimensional entity. It’s endlessly entertaining. 🙂 Take your mind right Sol’s inevitable demise.

          If humanity survives the disrespect so many of us have for the Earth and each other, I like to believe we’ll move the species to a new homeland.

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          1. I’d like to think it’s more petulance, but one thing I never doubt is human ignorance and the almost zeal to remain ignorant. Humans are such strange creatures. There are tons of memes about how we don’t listen to hear, but rather listen in order to respond, and we don’t argue/discuss to learn anything, we just want to prove ourselves to be right. I think everyone has fallen into that trap. As much as it stings to be wrong, we learn more from it. Being right doesn’t teach us anything. It just reinforces something we already knew and also can make us think rightness is just inherent in everything we do, a dangerous view.

            I have terrible spatial skills (and a poor sense of direction), which is one of the reasons I defer to greater minds on such things. I can’t really visual the fourth dimension, and my viewpoint on branes/the multiverse is more cartoon-y than anything else, but I believe they exist, because I trust science/the scientific method.

            You’re right. If we survive until the death of the sun in billions of years (which I often doubt…I’m not even sure if humanity will survive until the next century), that gives us plenty of time to advance technologically to find a new home.

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  2. Overwhelmed is such a good title for an A-Z post. It fits how I feel right now. 🙂

    Oh, and please add me to the fiction writers list: “The Impatiens Chronicles: A Tale of Fantasy Writer’s Touch-Me-Nots.” Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I apologize, Andrea. I’d read the first several of your posts and categorized it in my head as “writing instruction”. But you’re right, there’s original fiction in every post! You’re on the list beginning with “Q”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Surely, love conquers all, right? I’m hoping Elliot knows CPR. It was sometime around my 13th year that I discovered I needed glasses. After getting my glasses, I was amazed to see all the stars in the sky. My thoughts about the vastness of the Universe must have begun about that time too. I’m still searching for answers…what’s it all about?

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    1. I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the question is unanswerable, and that’s okay. If the Universe is about anything, that won’t change no matter what we think, feel, or know. If we have a purpose to fulfill, it will surely involve living as an integral part of this Universe, and we’ll know by how well that flows for us if we are doing it with the current of What Is or against it. So I say, live and pay attention. Make course corrections as they show themselves to be necessary. Be a mindful part of it. If you have the excellently good and terrifying fortune to be cast into the Total Perspective Vortex, then you’ll be aware of the Whole and understand that every little thing you do has value and impact, no matter how minuscule. Like Shirley Dietz has suggested — the Butterfly Effect. Or the Ripple Effect. Maybe it isn’t about us — it’s because of us and everything else. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no…such a little life snuffed out before it even began…
    I think we have to consider our place in time and space…butterfly effect etc…but we are here to make a difference and even if it’s only a tiny difference in proportion to the size of the rest of the Universe, it will still have an effect on those immediately around us…therefore, “tread lightly upon the Earth” and ” Be kind whenever possible..” 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh Elliot – surely things will turn around!
    What expansive profound thoughts that 13-year-old self of yours was having. I, too, remember, looking up at the night sky as a child and feeling an overwhelming sense of awe for the first time – like I truly understood not only were we not alone in the universe, but that perhaps I had come from one of those stars to be here now. It was simultaneously frightening and crazily reassuring at the same time. But I’ll never forget that feeling – in a split second your whole perception of things shifts.

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    1. Elliot deserves a break, doesn’t he?

      I don’t doubt that your star-gazing contributed to your commitment to peace at all levels: a peaceful spirit, peaceful interactions and relationships, and a peaceful humanity. I love that you considered the possibility you came from another star!

      Like

    1. “Cool paradox” — I really like that. Kind of like the seeming disconnection quantum level happenings have with our 3-or-4D macro existence. The physics of our apparently break down or don’t apply. Yet everything must be connected and somehow interdependent, right?

      Sorry for the delay in responding to you here, but I’ve just found 8 comments in a spam folder I’ve never noticed before.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Poor Elliot. The suspense continues..
    Wow that was a profound train of thought for a thirteen year old! I often think about the universe and our place in it.. makes me really how insignificant we are. I think we never really take the time of appreciate the miracle that is our solar system or our planet for that matter. But somehow I always end up thinking about how we’re destroying the earth.. Slowly…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s sad how miserably we seem to be failing as caretakers of the only home we’re ever going to know — at least in our lifetimes. Maybe looking at the stars and feeling small is just what we need to wake up our sense of belonging to something bigger. Like life on Earth.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Throughout human history, those stars seemed to have inspired myths and legends, religions, science, art, love, hope, and psychoses. lol. Powerful stuff, the heavens. And I have to believe they have inspired far more earth-shattering epiphanies than mine. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel like your post title could work for both posts. Whenever I start to think about my place in the universe, and all of humanity’s, and the idea that human history is just a blink of a cosmic eye….I get pretty overwhelmed.

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    1. I believe you’re right. That’s how I felt as a three-year-old, the first time I faced Infinity — overwhelmed… terrified. Over the years I’ve come to relish the vastness. I’m comfortable being a point in the continuum of whatever this is: Time, Space, Reality. For me, it’s enough to be part of it, to experience it knowing there is a totality I will probably never comprehend but undeniably includes me, everything I know, and even more than I may ever imagine. Reality is whatever it is. Ultimately, whether we understand it or not doesn’t matter. Denying it doesn’t change it. How we perceive it doesn’t affect it. I like being as aware as I can be of just how big this thing I’m part of is, and I think that enhances my life, not diminishes it.

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