I’m listening to The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley. In a recent scene, a character is described falling into Jupiter. She is wearing a futuristic space suit that keeps her from burning up as she enters the atmosphere, or being crushed by the pressure right away. She falls, and falls, and falls, blacking out several times from panic. Jupiter is huge, 1300 times earth’s volume. That’s a long way to fall. Eventually she passes through her panic and accepts her death. She enjoys the view. The sunlight paints colors on the boiling clouds. lightning strikes permeate the deep. She detects life forms swimming through the air. All she can do is watch, and marvel at the beauty around her, in the time she has left.
And that’s life, isn’t it? Albeit on a much accelerated time table. We are all falling toward death, and no matter how we panic and scream and flail our arms for something to grab to slow our fall, there is no stopping. There is no parachute. Our mothers birthed us into a free-fall that will end with us crashing into the ground of old age if we’re lucky, or colliding midair with disease or accident if not.
It’s coming, and quick. All we can do is accept it, and enjoy the view on the way down.