Part of Outside

June 1, 2014 in

I wrote "Part of Outside" in college, after the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Do you remember it?

(I enjoy that it has such an official name, at least according to Wikipedia.)

On Tuesday, August 13, 2003, all sorts of power went out. It ended up affecting much of the northeast. I wasn’t in the region affected, but I loved the pictures that came out of it. New York City, sans lights. Neighbors actually talking to each other. People on their roofs enjoying the brightest stars they’d seen since the Edison Company started colonizing the world.

Here’s a nice picture of the lights-out NYC skyline by Flickr user megasturg

It wasn’t all fun and games—lightrails couldn’t go, people were stranded all over the place, and it was HOT—but it was unavoidable proof that we are part of our environment, like it or not.

I am amazed by what we are part of. Seriously! Atoms! They’re crazy! It’s said so often these days that it’s become a cliche of sorts, but it’s still true: we are made of stardust. We are forged from elements created in stars.

Wow! Right? And once you start thinking this way, nothing is the same again. The thoughts in your brain are atoms pinging each other, and the hand you hold up in front of you is atoms spinning too. These bodies we carry until we die are just atoms, which were zinging about long before us and which will keep zinging long after us.

Some people feel insignificant and meaningless in the face of that. I’m there a lot in my head, but luckily I’m the kind of person that can believe two opposing things simultaneously, because I also feel HUGE! I am part of the UNIVERSE! What a team to be on!!!

It’s really the great equalizer. I am made of the same stuff as the M31 galaxy, and I am made of the same stuff as poop. Either way, it’s perspective.

“Part of Outside” can be found on my album Sudden Amaryllis.


Cricket serenade at midnight thirty, constant reminder that I am part of outside. New York City saw the stars for the third time since Edison. No news, no late nite, just the sky. I am part of outside.

Your hair is just my thoughts existing more slowly. My very body is Andromeda re-aligned. My breathing is your hand at a faster vibration. I am you, I am holy, I am sky.

Top image credits Right: Ultraviolet view of M31 galaxy (Andromeda): NASA/public domain.

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