I look at Jupiter
I look at Jupiter in the sky and ask a few questions.
“When you look down here at us, our tiny blue Earth in disarray, what do you think?”
The giant might look back at me and say: “What the heck is going on down there? What are you doing?”
“I don’t know, Jupiter. We lost the plot.”
He must be laughing at us, complaining about not being able to travel or hug friends, but being unkind to animals, trees, water, nature.
I looked at Jupiter in the sky almost every day in July and August. The giant planet was the closest it could be to the Earth, sided by Saturn, the fancy one adorned by its powerful rings. The summer sky was clear most days and just after dusk, when the first starts are visible, there he was, the king of planets, huge and shiny. If you are not a stargazer and crazy about all things astronomical like me, you would think that’s just a star. Get some good binoculars or a small children’s telescope (like the one I have on my balcony) and you’ll see a round and grey object, with a cloudy appearance and a few darker stripes on the top. By the end of this summer, Jupiter became almost like a family member, someone I would welcome for dinner every night, expecting him by the door at a certain hour after darkness comes. Jupiter became my safety blanket, my escape.
Every summer I used to plan an adventure. Every year I followed the Dalai Lama’s advice to visit a place you’ve never been before. Traveling, especially the long summer trips, was never a “take a vacation” moment. I never stopped working while away and traveling has always been my time to fit in the world and to find crucial inspiration to create. Also, as I’m far away from family and from many close friends, summer used to be my time to reconnect – in person! – with all my people. But now I rely on Jupiter every day to remind me there are other worlds, maybe in better shape and order.
I try my best and stay put in my backyard, feeding birds, hiding my tomato and cucumber plants from greedy squirrels during the day. At night I talk to Jupiter and my soul grows bigger, my dreams come back for a while. There’s a world out there and, no, I don’t think space travel to escape the mess we created here is the solution. Don’t get me wrong. I think we should stay here and look more up to Jupiter and Saturn, while we pay less attention to our own belly buttons, our petty interests, or the empty speeches of our politicians.
September is here and our summer nights will slowly disappear into the fall season. It will get too cold or windy to be outside, the barbecue will rest more often under the impermeable cover, and the fire pit will remain cold. Jupiter will keep going, moving a little further from Earth, but still looking at us from his majestic podium, the largest planet, so big that over 1,300 Earths could fit inside of it. We will be here, still moving, still small and dizzy, trying to find our way.