Motley Microfiction: Love in the Time of Asteroids

A broken line. A space station accident. Laura died the way she’d lived: unattached and alone.

Obedient to inertia, her frozen form hurled through the infinite void. She flirted briefly with passing asteroids, but lacking mutual gravitational attraction, Laura spurned her heavenly suitors and pressed onward.

Finally she locked in orbit with a yellow star. Stray gases coalesced. She grew, accumulating mass, becoming a planet with a woman’s heart.

And after a billion years alone, she brought forth life: one cell. Alone, like her.

Laura wept inside. A billion years to create life. Only 3.6 billion more until love evolved.


Galaxies in alignment. (Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-)

Thanks to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog, I’ve developed an addictive habit of staring at pictures of space, particularly those from the Hubble Telescope Gallery. These pictures both fascinate and terrify me. I gaze at them and feel like the ground’s falling away beneath my feet, but instead of falling, I’m soaring. It has something to do with the sheer scope of what I’m looking at: a picture of something so vast, my brain has no better way to deal with it than to call it “art”.

I wrote today’s story to capture something of that feeling. It’s a story about transformations: death becoming life and loneliness becoming love after long epochs of time. As a lover of science and a person of faith, I’m enamored by the concept of evolution in a philosophical sense. What does it mean to live in a place where chaos produces such beauty? And what better description of patient love do we have than this slow blossoming of life on our dead little rock in space? Or perhaps I’m engaging in some romantic pareidolia to see such patterns to begin with? I don’t know.

Those are huge questions for my humble little blog, and as I’m not a physicist, philosopher, or theologian, I hesitate to venture more than the questions.

What comes to mind when you consider evolution in a philosophical light? Is it chaos, or beauty, or both?


5 thoughts on “Motley Microfiction: Love in the Time of Asteroids

  1. I think evolution is beautiful, random, and tragic as well…Somehow whenever I think of evolution I feel so sorry for all the species which became extinct…I guess extinction is irrelevant to individual organisms in their life time…but still it makes me feel sad.

    1. Tragic is a good word for it. And I suppose it doesn’t help that our actions as a species have been so hard on other species. I learned a few months ago that all the native grass in my area got overrun and killed off by European grass thanks to colonization, and it made me very sad. What were those fields of grass like before, I wonder? We’ll never know

  2. Love the approach – how a planet forms around a woman’s heart. Beautiful and extremely creative.

    Evolution seems chaotic at ground level – but from a ‘distance’ —– Hmmmm.

    “Hey, bud, this wall can do with a new coat of paint.”
    “Awwgh, come on will ya. It’s my smoke break.”
    “The boss’ll be back soon.”
    “Well, if he can only frigging make up his bloody mind!”
    “Come on, Lucifer, get on with it.”

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