"The stony meteorite Estacado is older than Earth. If you touch the dark, round spots, you can feel the solid particles from which the solar system formed more than four billion years ago. The flat surface of Estacado has been cut and polished, revealing tiny bits of iron mixed in with the stone."
We were at this exhibit for less than a few minutes, my daughter and I. Our feet hurt. She had gems to see, just in the other room. We touched the dark spots like the sign said to, one of the few things in the museum we could touch. We paused for a moment, trying to grasp what the sign meant. I tried to hold onto sensation of "the dark spots," in case it might come back to me later—what the universe felt like. But all I remember is how much it looked like a kitchen countertop.
There is something of a disconnect that happens when we see the Webb images or touch rocks that came from space or think about time in the first place.
It's beautiful. It's wild. It's an interesting thing to say, that this rock existed before the rock we now live on. But to make it mean something...
Hank Green recently talked about this on TikTok (if your TikTok hasn't taken you to Hank Green, you're doing it wrong)—how the Webb images in particular are not just showing us how small we are, but how big we are. How we are the bits of this unfathomable universe that woke up to "look at itself." My son shivered and told me to swipe past that video. It was way too weird for him to think about.
Some truths are hard to wrap your brain around.
And that applies to way more than space rocks you happen upon while trying to get to another exhibit before the museum closes.
I guess what I'm saying is, you're a cool space rock, polished or not. Whatever you're trying to surface in your content is the universe looking at itself. It's stardust-made truth you're trying to heft out onto display.
Someone is going to slide past your truth. Someone will reduce it to its most basic associations. Someone will stop for a moment and move on.
But the stopping is enough.
Aching, busy, tired. They'll touch your moment in time, attach it to a comfort, and shiver.
And they'll remember.