Tiny Dots

The aircraft turns into the runway. The dull whir of the engines get louder as the plane accelerates. The tires eventually say farewell to the tarmac, and I push myself back into the seat as the aircraft begins its ascent.

The view out my window is one I've now seen many times. The ground recedes from under me. It's deceptively slow but quickly picks up the pace. The sum of my experiences, the places I have been to and the friends I met in the past few days rapidly collapse to a single dot. That cat under my apartment that I'm always looking out for whenever I get home? It's sleeping on the roof of a car parked downstairs, also somewhere in that dot.

Before long, the pilot announces that we have started the descent into our destination. The lights from the city below start peering through the clouds and the tiny dot will once again grow to accommodate my everyday life. I notice the cars scurrying along the highway that connects the airport to the city. I will be in one of those cars soon. Tomorrow, I will commute seemingly long distances inside that dot. Things will bother me at work. I'll meet friends and family and I will complain about the traffic and the weather.

There is a powerful photograph of the Earth, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from about six billion kilometres away. In it, the planet appears as a pale blue dot, and many more people have read Carl Sagan's reflections on it - a resonant and breathtaking ode to planet Earth. It's worth remembering too then, that our lives are confined to even smaller specks on that dot.

But now, the aircraft doors are open. I'm going home.