The myriad faint stars that comprise the Antlia Dwarf galaxy are more than four million light-years from Earth, but this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image offers such clarity that they could be mistaken for much closer stars in our own Milky Way. This very faint and sparsely populated small galaxy was only discovered in 1997.
All things stir by night,
waking or sleeping,
conscious of the nearness of their ruin.
Only man makes himself illuminations he conceives to be
solid and eternal.
But while we ask our question and come to our decisions,
God blows our decisions out, the roofs of our houses cave
in upon us,
the tall towers are undermined by ants, the walls crack and
and the holiest buildings burn to ashes
while the watchman is composing a theory of duration.
Now is the time to meet You, God, where the night is
where the forest opens out under the moon
and the living things sing terribly that only the present is
and that all things having a past and a future are doomed to
I ask these useless question,
I do not wait for an answer, because I have begun to realize
You never answer when I expect.
And now my whole being breathes the wind
and my hand is on the door through which I see the
The door swings out upon a vast sea of darkness and of
Will it come like this, the moment of my death?
Will You open a door upon the great forest
and set my feet upon a ladder under the moon,
and take me out among the stars?
-Thomas Merton, "Fire Watch", The Sign of Jonas, pp. 349-362