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The Orion Nebula from
Observations of interstellar molecules
by Albert Nummelin


Hours of life on this planet


by john hudak

I was lying on the ground in front of someone's house watching the stars, the constellation, Cassiopeia. I saw the trails before I even used the binoculars. I knew about the trails through time-lapse photography. I knew about the trails through hours of watching. I would think about the stars and their paths through the sky, and then would see the paths as though they had always been there, as if I had never seen the singular stars themselves.

People became eventually the same as the stars to me. People left trails I could see, and before long, I began seeing trails and not the people. And like the stars, whose brightness varied with age, the trails of people would have an end I could see.

Watching people I knew that died, I was later able to judge the approximate length of hours of life a person would have on this planet. I would look, knowing it would not make a difference, because there was nothing that could be changed. The trail either faded, or abruptly dropped off. How the life was lived was a matter of little importance. I began to watch the stars again.

I was lying on the ground in front of someone’s house watching the stars, constellation, Orion. The trails were steady patterns: where one pattern stopped, another picked up. There was always space between the lines. The lines were unimportant to the other lines. I noticed that at times one set of lines started almost precisely where another left off.. a continuance.

I started to notice this same phenomenon with the people I observed. The patterns continued where others left off. Continuance was an aspect of life. It was an aspect that perhaps could be thought about. Other than pure physical continuance that I could see, perhaps there was a continuance of thought.

I was lying on the ground in front of someone’s house watching the stars, constellation, Pleiades. I turned on my side and picked a blade of grass. I wondered how long it could be before I could pick every blade of grass in the yard, one by one.

[]

First published in Ozone : A Map of Alternate Realities, Philadelphia 1992.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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