I saw a poster years ago: an image of space, the huge expanse of the Milky Way, with an arrow and the tiny words, YOU ARE HERE.
It stayed with me because I have always felt awe, respect and a fair amount of fear when thinking about my place in the universe. Thinking about where I fit into the great unknown (or frontier, if you’re a Star Trek fan) makes me uncomfortable.
Am I making a difference? Do I count?
There are so many unknowns in our pandemic universe right now, and it’s making me feel even more lost and anxious – you know, masks, distancing, isolation, impending Second Wave, the end of March Break, when will I feel brave enough to get my pandemic hair trimmed. Yeah, all that.
You are here. That’s our universe right now.
It turns out, I’m still here. Still cuddling my new grandson, and hugging my kids – once they finally made it out of Ontario to spend a cozy 14-day quarantine with us at our summer home in Nova Scotia.
Still playing my dulcimer on the deck at sunset. Still reading books. Watching the Jays. Lamenting the end of my beloved Maple Leafs’ season.
Still watching the herons gather on the sandbars at dusk, and a shy eagle grace us with an occasional fly-over. A mother deer and three fawns on the front yard. Still here.
Still writing, even though the big universe isn’t noticing my words or stories right now. Even though my book fell into the pandemic abyss. That’s okay. I know it’s still here, on a shelf in a bookshop, in a library (and in my heart, because every published book feels a bit like a beloved child, doesn't it?).
I'm fortunate, and I know it.
Earlier this summer the NEOWISE comet appeared and I watched with awe as it hung in the night sky over the Northumberland Strait. It reminded me of that poster from years ago. It reminded me that the universe is big and I am small.
But I’m still here. I hope you are too.