Monday, May 13, 2013

Meteorite Falling

On Friday, I attended a special UVa Observatory night for Venable Elementary School with a friend and her two oldest children.  While there, we got to hold a piece of a meteorite.

"Isn't it so amazing to think that we're holding something from an entirely different world?"  The man in charge enthusiastically asked us when we handed it back.  

With such excitement, can anyone wonder that it was a magical night for the kids involved?  

In any case, the person also asked a question and made a fascinating point.  The earth is a very vibrant planet.  If we didn't have an atmosphere and moving tectonic plates and a constantly changing geography, then our planet would have noticeable damage left from the meteorites that have hit our planet.  Earth should potentially look just like the moon on its surface with craters.  But, it doesn't.  Instead, it's a planet full of life and movement.

I was thinking about that when I walked around UVa on Saturday, now largely empty of students.  One student walked past me with his parents and pointed to a green expanse of grass, "Here is where our temporary dining hall was last year."  Looking at the green grass and no sign of wear and tear, the parents stared back at their son in amazement.  

"What was the temporary dining hall?"  The mother ventured to ask.  "A tent?"  

I smiled at her question and understood her confusion.  "No," I wanted to say.  "It was the most beautiful temporary structure I have ever seen, two stories of glass."  Lit up from within, it cast a cheering light out on the dark, cold nights of winter."  

When I had first come upon it, I had marveled at the beauty of a temporary structure, so used as I was to tents and trailers and hastily thrown up walls to redirect traffic around construction areas.  It was beyond anything I had expected and I secretly wished we could have a permanent structure with such simple lines.  But within a semester, the dining hall was gone.  And after four months, the sign that it was there at all is only in our memories.  

How could this son explain that to his mother?  The face of UVa had changed and changed back.  

I wondered what it would be like to explain my life to my children or even to my future husband.  If he were to see UVa, what would he see?  Would I even recognize in it the place I have spent seven years of my life? Or will its landscape have changed once again?

We humans are a dynamic people, as dynamic as the Earth on which we live.

This is a song that I thought was fitting when I was writing this blog.  I looked up the lyrics and realized that I had misheard some of them.  So I will write them down as I thought they once were.  

Need Some Time to Settle by Yen-J

Chorus:
It takes time to settle.
Settling takes time.
Settling needs even more time,
Until the world changes.
(The last line actually says, Too many things are changing)

He uses the word chendian (沉澱) which is a word for settle but also sort of refers to how sediment settles.  I always think of the rock cycle and how sediment slowly builds and then changes form until the face of the earth changes.  (I'm such a science nerd)  So the idea of life taking time to settle and change like the face of the earth changes was beautiful to me, as a way to heal from any heartache or hurt.  I'm not sure Yen-J intended people to think of the rock cycle but that's how it is.

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