Earth from Space

Looking at a photograph of Earth from space,
I am amazed by our ability to observe ourselves from afar,
to observe our existence in itself and relative to the solar system,
the galaxy, the universe.

I imagine myself as this isolated observer, the astronaut.
Outside of the gravitational pull of daily concerns,
I am able to see our planet more clearly, more fully.
I see its shades of blue, its sweeping storms, its continents:

it is beautiful.
From far away, it is small and delicate,
a ball for a young god to play with,
a tiny island of life.

I see that our existence is extremely precarious.
I remember that I was not born of this sterile space environment,
but of the warmth and wildness of the Earth,
which is, as far as we know, unique.

We live in strange times.
We have an advanced ability to watch ourselves,
an immense fascination with observing ourselves from afar,
and yet we cannot watch ourselves.

Or we can only watch ourselves
as our existence becomes increasingly precarious.
Our planet seems small, vulnerable, defenseless against celestial collisions,
a tiny ball in the hands of a heartless universe.

But Earth’s worst enemies are its own inhabitants,
who care not for its shades of blue,
for whom the next hundred or thousand years do not exist.
Who value more their shades of green.

What does it matter to them if someone else’s water is clean?

Seeing the Earth from far away,
I feel closer than ever to its unique beauty.
Beauty which comes from fish swimming through salty ocean water,
orangutans laughing with leaves on their heads,

and humans singing together, carrying water from the well, writing poetry.
We can enjoy this beauty for so much longer
or destroy what, as far as we know, only we have been given.

Lydia Hirsch is a poet, writer, and socialist living in Southern California. She can be reached at: Read other articles by Lydia.