A Life Under the Stars

A Life Under The Stars

A companion. A mentor. A friend.

Standing in front of the casket holding the scarlet notebook he realised he meant so much more to Vincenzo than he could have ever imagined. If it weren’t for the plethora of scientific instruments he had left behind and the knowledge he shared, he could well have not even existed at all. The finiteness of a single human life struck him like a smith’s hammer strikes an anvil. He thought to himself that as human beings, we are simply all passing through, and to the universe, we are a mere second; a blink of an eye in time and space.

A daunting feeling descended on him as he arrived at the conclusion that no matter what we do, or how we approach life, one will always die in the end. We are just one person on a planet containing perhaps a billion, and Earth is just one among thousands upon thousands of planets within our galaxy. How could an individual possibly have any tangible impact on anything when looking at the bigger picture? Does a solitary life matter? To what extent could one hope to have an impact on the masses?

As if by sheer luck, he remembered them meeting many years before. Vincenzo had been strolling along the Venetian canals one clear summer evening, when a shimmering glint of starlight had drawn his attention to the most intriguing thing; a man sitting on a newly painted elm bench by the waterfront. He pointed a thin, brass spyglass towards the brightest star in the sky, taking notes and sketching on a leather-bound notebook as he swept his instrument across the night sky. Curious as to what this man was doing, Vincenzo struck up a conversation. The man spoke of marvellous theories about the heavens, which to Vincenzo, mostly seemed improbable and some sounded purely absurd. He was a professor in astronomy and mathematics, and yet challenged basic principles of gravitational forces and even speculated at the possibility of the Earth orbiting around the sun. They talked of...