Interior Monologue on Train Tracks

October 29, 2013
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There are approximately one septillion stars in our universe. That number can increase or decrease, depending on the number of light years between our strained eyes and the winking needleheads against the infinite night sky. That could also only be a small handful of the real amount, like scooping a palmful of sand and saying that those are all of the grains on the beach. I want to visit all of them, the blazing gas giants and red dwarves, and live in the silence, the harsh vacuum, looking up and down and in every direction at once into the vast expansion of space. We aren’t advanced enough to make a home among swirling, ancient galaxies constructed of matter and patterns and figures and perfection and beauty. We are stuck on a marble that suspends itself like a children’s mobile around a singular star. Today I walked into my brother’s old room. He had laid books out like skyscrapers around his bed, making a fortress of knowledge to protect him from the ignorant glare of the world. He wouldn’t have thought of it that way. He thinks he is going to be a professor, so he fills his brain with flavorless facts that he forgets in a matter of days. I think he is going to be a soccer dad, a weary soul who lifts heavy objects for a living and fills the holes he drills with lite beer. My fingers skimmed across the cover of a glossy black book. Inside were pages and pages of numbers and facts, pictures and figures. They made me feel safe, somehow; someone knew so much about the universe and could type it all up in a confined office across the globe, along with kid-friendly diagrams.
Our galaxy measures about 100,000 light years across but is only around 2,000 light years thick.
Our universe is expanding.
Cosmic Latte is the average color of the universe; the name given by a team of astronomers from Johns Hopkins University.
We are hurtling through space at the rate of 530 kilometers a second.
The light that cascades down the side of the hill and slices into my eyes irritatingly is 30 thousand years old.
I could wrap these facts around me like a blanket in the frigidness of space, when I travel there.
For now, I can watch trains glide across the expanses our little marble, like a electric Christmas toy that Dad always trips over, cursing and belly-laughing.
They call and whistle, and fill the air with chugging and blasts, metal clinks and shudders.
I know they wouldn’t be heard in space.

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