“For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us… Edgy. Unfulfilled. Even after 400 hundred generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls like a nearly forgotten song of childhood.”
We are ever reminded and ever forgetful of how small this earth of ours is. Or perhaps more importantly, how small we are. Our bodies, our lives — specks of dust in an ceaseless sea of black sky and burning stars. Our little hearts yearn to scoop the whole of this world up and hold it in our bodies with experience and memory. At least mine does. My heart expands and contracts in hopes of reaching further and further out with each beat to pull more of the world in. Cuba, India, the salt flats, desert brush, Sri Lanka, Iran, white sand, Berlin, the Great Wall — I want them all to be a part of me. They are so far and so big in my mind. But then, I look up at that forever sky and I am tiny. My cities and dreams are tiny. I want the universe.
Carl Sagan seems to have been driven by this want the most. He devoted his life to the cosmos and the stars, to this big, great beyond. He wrote 600 articles on related topics, was author, co-author or editor to over 20 books, and narrated with his soothing voice the 1980 show Cosmos, which he also co-wrote. Now, Sagan’s voice posthumously adorns the vast and imaginative video recently created by animator and visual artist Erik Wernquist. And it’s beautiful.
The video depicts recreations of real places in the solar system and inserts man into the imagery. As Wernquist puts it: “The idea of the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds – and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.” Accompanied by audio excerpts from Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, Wernquist has not only created an image of the future of space, but has hit upon the crux of humanity’s desire for adventure: it is and always has been about finding the unknown, reaffirming that tried and true mantra: it’s about the journey, not the destination.
We are wanderers. This we won’t forget.