I went for a hike up to the Griffith Observatory yesterday morning. I think I just really needed to do something passive. And by passive I guess I don't mean inactive, because I was running and frolicking up and down that trail. But I mean that I just had to make some time to have no responsibilities or obligations. To not think of work and getting things done. And to just be alone in a long moment of freedom from phone calls and emails and jobs and driving and schedules.
Griffith Park has long been a place of serenity for me. My hike to the observatory begins with the lush overhang of trees, and wooden bridges that I think are there because of a creek, but it's always been dry as far as I've known, so sometimes I think the bridges are there just to look pretty, because they do.
I love that hike. I don't pass very many people on my trail. This time it was only a guy with his one-eyed dog and a latino family, the little girls giggling as they slid down the dry desert slope.
And the observatory I've always loved. It's free admission, so anyone can stroll in and learn all about the solar system and universe and history and science. There's so much to see and discover in that building!
But this time I just walked the grounds, following the scaled down orbits of each planet marked by metal lines inlaid in the concrete around the building, and finally I stood on the small metal Earth for a while, stretching and thinking, while standing on the real Earth too.
Astronomy has long been an interest of mine. When I began college as an english major, I also took on astronomy as my minor. Well, it didn't take me long to realize that the involved studies of that education was not fit for a pastime! So I switched it to philosophy.
I did, however, learn some beautiful things. About the stars and planets and this phenomenal universe that is holding us all in its fine fragile grasp. Worm holes and black holes and what is time. It's fascinating to me. Truly and deeply fascinating.
And I remember back in Aspen, when I took my first astronomy class in high school and just soaked it up. I'd take friends out with me over by the music tent at night, to the lumpy bumpy park, which I think is gone now, and we'd lie down and look at the deep black sky speckled with so many stars and I would point out every one I knew and show them the unreachable.
And we'd lie there sometimes until the stars began to disappear with the early light of our big star. And sometimes we'd go and visit a baker that I discovered who was up working before the town arose and he'd give us fresh cherry almond muffins in the earliest of the morning before his deliveries. And those were the sweetest of nights.
But yesterday I stood there and just took it all in. The smoggy sweeping city below me. The tourists and laughing children around me. All of it operating and all of us together.
Standing atop this mystery, I just thought, god, I would not trade this world for the world! It is by far my favorite place I've ever been.
And I thought about everyone else too.
Here's what I hope for us. All of us. To be good to each other. Just to be good. Because we are all on this tumultuous journey in this crazy beautiful universe. And no one knows what it is. But we can all understand. We can understand a lot. Like how every day is here and difficult, but somehow, sacred, for just being.