Thursday, September 27, 2012

Constellations Amid the Cosmic Dust

I often feel like some of my best days at Starbucks are the ones I get to work with Matt. Lately our busy lives don't seem to intersect as much as they used to. I had been through an exhausting summer and working mostly morning shifts. Matt was usually working nights and struggling to keep up with his classes. Sometimes we pass each other like two comets in the sky. After a few weeks we decided to meet up for lunch. Once we finished catching up we found ourselves on a spontaneous trip to the Orlando Science Center.

I had been to the Science Center a few weeks earlier and I had been fascinated with the dinosaurs and wildlife exhibits. This was Matt's first visit and he was much more drawn to the hands on displays. Since I had gotten my fix on a previous trip I decided to explore with him. I felt like I got to see a completely different side of the museum as we turned into inquisitive children.

As we walked past this screen we noticed that it picked up our images. As we moved closer to the monitor a floor keyboard lit up on the bottom of the screen. We were able to use our feet to play an invisible piano.

We came across an electronic harp which used lasers instead of strings. Matt, who actually plays the harp, wasted no time in figuring out all of its different settings. 

This metallic disk was engraved with Morse Code. When spun the laser would read the message by beeping.

Matt learning about all of the body functions through this interactive model. 

This table was set up to illustrate the importance of making a building that could withstand an earthquake. Once your structure was in place you could hit a button that would make the table shake. 

Our structure was not sound. 

Matt braving the 78 mile per hour winds of a hurricane. 

This was a table made to show how the eye of a storm is formed by using a gel-like substance. As I spun the table the outer edges swirled rapidly while the interior moved slower and became a perfect circle. The most interesting movement happened when I abruptly stopped the table to spin it in the opposite direction. The swirls became erratic and bunched up as they adjusted to the change in momentum. 

At first I thought the glare was going to make it impossible to get a good shot of this mesmerizing table. However, the glare actually made the shot more intriguing. Suddenly it wasn't just the eye of a storm I was looking at. My perspective broadened and the spots of light became stars and planets in a chaotic and beautiful universe. Constellations amid the cosmic dust. 

After our trip to the Science Center I surprised Matt with a collection of photographs and videos I had taken of him during the first two years of our friendship. Most of them were from silly little outings or just us simply hanging around. Many were from seemingly uneventful days, but combined they become the beacons of a friendship that still surprises me. 

We sat and went through all the photos and laughed. Matt hadn't seen most of them before this day. Memories from the past two years came flooding back. An even though we have only known each other for a short while these images are proof of time well spent. 

Each photo may not amount to much individually but together they begin to number like the stars. Looking back they tell our story the way night sky tells the history of the Earth. These scattered moments become the constellations amid the cosmic dust of our friendship - always chaotic and always beautiful. 

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