Monday night Meacham and I watched the International Space Station (ISS) fly overhead. It took about seven minutes to pass over from the northwest to the southeast horizon, travelling at 8 kilometres per second. My head hurt looking up at it. But not because of a headache.
It’s the enormity of the implication of outer space. Yes, I’ve read about the Big Bang, the grand contraction, the great expansion. But what I want to know is what’s just past the end of the universe. Apparently it has no end. But what if what we know as the universe turns out to be essentially a sno-globe in a giant’s house, and we just can’t see that far? Then what's the edge of that universe?
Last weekend we had a good friend over for a socially distant visit on our back deck. It was more than pleasant, it was needed. After so long in isolation, we crave human contact (or until everyone has two doses of vaccine, non-contact). So we sat in our little bubble chatting, and whiled away two hours.
I can only imagine what the travellers on the ISS must be going through. As Meacham said, for the astronauts, on the other side of the wall, it’s just space. The only thing separating them from death is basically a tin can. Plus the only thing separating them from the enormity of space is that wall. But then, just look out the window. Where does it go? Where does it end? Does it end? Makes my head hurt. They’re in their tin can bubble.
This past weekend, my cousin organized a wonderful virtual celebration of my aunt’s 90th birthday. Three of my mother’s sisters were on the call. A fourth, unfortunately, couldn’t sign on from her residence but I’m assured she’s doing well. Heck, given that all the remaining sisters are now over the age of 90, they’re all doing well. So there we were, in our Zoom bubble, with relatives from Whitehorse, Miami, Mono, Newmarket, Toronto, Napanee and Bridgetown all on one screen. I hadn’t seen some of my cousins in 20 years. We’re a lot greyer, but still the same underneath. Once again, the 90 minutes spent on the call flew by.
I heard an interview with a physically disabled person on CBC radio. She’s not looking forward to the lockdown ending. She struggles to attend work, conferences, birthday parties, among other celebrations in person. These past 15 months, she’s been able to attend them all because they’re all on-line. She said, “Normal never really worked for me”. So perhaps we can take some of what we’ve had to do with Covid and make it part of our post-pandemic life.
We’ve all lived in our own respective bubbles for about 15 months now. For some, the pandemic can’t end soon enough. For others, they’re not looking forward to it. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting out of the tin can and travelling again. But not so much that it makes my head hurt.
I'll leave you with a short video of our weird snowfall from last Friday.