I was checking out the video below when my 4-year-old son got curious and climbed on my lap to watch it with me.
(go ahead, watch the video first, and it's worth viewing 'full screen' on your monitor)
We both were transfixed by this breathtakingly beautiful video of time-lapsed sky over the frozen plains of South Dakota.
I was explaining to my son, "Look at those stars as they move across the sky!"
"Kemana? (Where?)" he asked.
I was struck speechless by the innocence and also by the serendipitous poetry of that question.
"Where are the stars going?"
Now I know, and so do you, the 'scientific' explanation in response to his query. But ... that's not the point.
In school both of my children will eventually learn about the physical laws that govern the solar system and the universe. As their mother I also hope to share my own life-long fascination with science and space. One of my earliest memories is that of being immersed in the darkness while the stars whirled above me in the planetarium. As a young girl I wanted to become an astronomer and work for NASA. And, of course, I love Star Trek, and if I were a Starfleet science officer, I would have loved to be assigned to Stellar Cartography aboard the USS Enterprise-D!
But it is my hope that even when my two sons have learned the physics behind the movement of celestial bodies, the 'exactness' of science (a thing of beauty in itself) will never take away the equally critical sense of child-like wonder. It's the same imagination that drove the ancient civilizations to see animals and mythical heroes, monsters, gods and goddesses etched in the clusters of stars. That all 'learning' won't detract them from the eternal poetry of God's creation, imprinted in the human soul.
I'd like to leave you with this clip below. It's the jaw-dropping opening scene from one of my most favorite movies: "Contact" (1997). So, again, click the 'full screen' button, sit back and let your imagination take flight!