There has been this myth circulating on the web lately.  The supposed planetary alignment was supposed to interrupt the Earth’s gravitational strength for a brief period of time leaving us weightless for a few moments.  That was supposed to happen today.

Aside from my waking up with a little spring in my step there was no appreciable decline in gravity that I could detect.  No floating down the stairs to get my coffee. Nothing unusual.

But this gravity thing got me thinking.  What is gravity?  The dictionary gives it a definition of seriousness as well as the force generated by objects that pulls other objects toward its center.  But what does gravity have to do with Earth being so hospitable to life here?  What would happen if we had less gravity or moved our orbit to that of Mars?

Apparently if Earth’s gravity were more that of the moon the Earth would have difficulty holding onto its atmosphere.  The oceans would release its own gases through evaporation in an attempt to replenish the atmosphere but they too would drift off into space.  Eventually the oceans would dry up and life would perish.

If we kept the gravity the same but moved Earth to Mars’ orbit we’d have less energy derived from the sun and enter into an ice age unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.  The oceans would freeze up to their greatest depths.  No moisture would escape to the atmosphere and life would perish.

Pretty tenuous an existence.  Minor changes to our gravity or our orbit would have catastrophic affects on life as we know it.  No one would be here to write blogs or read them.

It also got me thinking how we can keep grounded in our lives.  How do we walk the tightrope between being realistic and practical and building castles in the sky, as Thoreau encourages us to do? How do you shoot for the stars and not get so wrapped up in dreaming that you miss the beauty here on Earth?

I think that’s a struggle we all deal with.  At least I struggle with it – balancing responsibilities with hopes and dreams.  I think we reach that goal periodically in life.  Those moments truly exhibit heaven on earth.

I will end here with two performances that seem to strike that balance.  Enjoy.