Thursday, January 26, 2012, 06:37 pm, UTC-4.
One hour's sailing time from the volcanic island of Dominica the Caribbean Princess was on a southerly heading for the coral island of Barbados. From a balcony view off the Princess's starboard bow whimsical clouds sailed peacefully above the calm waters against a magnificently painted tropic sky. The Sun had set, Venus and the Moon would soon follow with Jupiter not far behind. Regrettably, the camera lens would only capture a stingy sample of the moment for there were other senses affected by this spectacular setting.
The sounds that evening were those of the sea washing against the ship's streamlined hull as she cut through the lucid blue waters unique to the Caribbean. The soothing rhythm and timbre created by this action was not unlike that of the gentle waves which break along the shoreline on Cape Cod Bay on a still Summer evening. The smell of the salt ocean and the sights and sounds of the frigate birds, pelicans and flying fish going about their business while at the same time embellishing the scenario, are sadly missing in this photograph. So too is the warm and gentle tropical breeze, which snuggles up around you like a genetically attached security blanket.
At this latitude, approximately 16 degrees North, the Moon's terminator, or shadow line, is in a nearly horizontal plane. Whether or not one perceives it as a brilliant smile shining down upon us from our heavenly companion is strictly personal. As for me: I'm convinced that the entire universe was not only created for, but vital to man's existence. The fact that life as we know it exists nowhere else in our nearby universe makes our Earth a very special place. There may be worlds out there where other lifeforms exist, but we may never find, much less visit them. As inconsequential as we may seem in the grand scheme of things, we must be an essential part of the Cosmic fabric. The implication that the entire vastness of space exists specifically to support life on a tiny planet in a minor star system may seem incomprehensible but to date only one "potentially habitable alien world" has been discovered and as modern science attests that would seem to be the case.
We inhabit this Earth for a very short time. In cosmic terms the current world average human life expectancy of 67.2 years is but a fragment of a nanosecond. In my latter years I've come to realize that human beings are blessed with a variety of senses for various reasons, not the least of which is to recognize the many natural gifts we have all been blessed with. They most certainly had to be created for thinking beings. What would be the purpose of their existence if not to be contemplated and exalted - even if only for a few nanoseconds in time?