Jupiter’s Band

Jupiter lost a band.

Jupiter. The planet. It lost a band – a band that measures thousands of miles across. Just woke up one morning and it had gone away.

I doubt Jupiter has changed much since it first entered our lives, probably in a grade school science book, its massive gravitational pull represented by a tie-died circle in between the familiarity of Mars and the beauty of Saturn. The picture we saw then is much like the picture we still see today. Stable. A planet, right? A PLANET.

Well, until now.

The band will come back – it always does – but what if it doesn’t?

There’s a lesson here. It’s different for everyone, but it still follows the same pattern: you wake up, and several years’ worth of slow, incremental change comes rushing in at once. It takes a special kind of person to see that happening in real-time. Most of us simply end up surprised.

Ask newspapers. The traditional advertising agency. Yahoo.

Ask those in charge of shaping the political landscape. Ask the multi-millionaire rock star who’s failed to keep track of his money. Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Ask someone who wakes up to find they’ve spent ten years at a dead-end job, wondering where the time had gone, frightened that they’ve let opportunity pass and, oh god, is it too late to turn back?

Our takeaway, I suppose, is to open our eyes. To make sure that, whatever it is we’re doing, we’re moving forward and evolving. Or, if moving forward isn’t a goal, to at least make sure we’re happy. Because, after a few years, after a glacier’s pace of adjustment, after the slow shift of tectonic plates, we might jar awake and discover what we’ve lost.

Ask Jupiter.

This was lovingly handwritten on May 21st, 2010