“Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving …”

I was camping in the desert in Jordan in 1995, snuggled up on the rooftop of a hostel with an older (28) woman named Jett. She was from Belgium. We were practically on top of each other in our respective sleeping bags because it was freezing; the hostel was full and we were given matts for the concrete rooftop.

The sky was like none I had ever seen, bright stars right to the horizon and a ribbon of milky wonder, creamy rich at the highest point in a blended hub of billions of stars at the galactic centre. It was too cold to sleep, like there was nothing between us and deep space, so we just stared and talked, watching passing satellites and more shooting stars than I will ever need for good luck.

I noticed Jupiter, rising in the east, distinguishable by its large yellowy glow and stable shimmer. We were fading, finally. I pulled out some trivia.

“Jupiter is 360 times the size of Earth and is made up mostly of gas,” I said.

“Really?” she replied.

“Yep. Now what are we going to do about THAT?”

Then, we slept. The next day we took the bus to Aqaba together, exchanged postal addresses (there being no email) and parted with a warm hug. When I got back to Canada, there was a letter.

“Thanks for keeping me warm. I would have gotten in your sleeping bag with you. And I will never forget about that ball of gas in the sky.”

I can be so dumb when it comes to relationships; don’t get me started about Venus.

> More wonder. Check out these photos of snowflakes.

> Watch this. Think and wonder about how small we are, and be glad. Monty Python’s Universe Song





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