As The Galaxies Merge

Writing is often a very humbling exercise. Not only when I discover and reacquaint myself with various facets of human nature, but also as a science fiction writer when I research various cosmic phenomenon. I find that realizing our place in the grand scheme of things is important, and if only we could keep remembering the colossal-ness of the universe that surrounds us, we would be more equipped to find happiness in the fleeting moments.

Lately, I have been looking into structures of galaxies. My Dad is an astronomy buff. I like the subject quite a lot as well. So, I was not surprised when my four-year-old started asking me to show her pictures and videos of the Milky Way. A few days ago, I was looking at some videos on YouTube that showed the merging of galaxies and the little one peeked over my shoulder. I thought she would tire soon, but no, she watched along with me for a better part of the hour. Then came the questions.

“What about the Milky Way, Mommy?”

“What about it?”

“What if another galaxy collides with us?”

“That’s possible. One day the Andromeda, our neighbor galaxy, will collide with us and merge.”

“What will happen to us then, Mama?”

“That’s a long time from now, honey. Billions of years. We won’t be here any more.”

“Where will we go? I don’t want to be gone.”

My little one is at an age when the concept of time is still fuzzy. To her, a billion years is as long as an hour, or a week or a month.

“We’re not going anywhere anytime soon,” I said.

She rushed to pick up her favorite toy. And then she ran back to hug me.

“You’ll always be in my heart, Mommy.”

Nothing grounds one more than the words of a child. Somehow, even with her fuzzy sense of the universe and time, she realized the importance of love. She grabbed her favorite toy, of course, but then she acknowledged the value of family. If only, as grownups, we could continue realizing that every moment of our lives. Sure, I don’t think I can or will give up my latest gadgets and gizmos, but the real power to sustain comes from the bonds we share with our friends and family.

A little late for Thanksgiving, but still . . . I am thankful.

By the way, check out the cool video above. I know I won’t be here when the Andromeda knocks on our door, but thinking about it while watching this video still stopped my heart for a second.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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