Today, March 23rd, is known as Near Miss Day because it was on this day in 1898 that a large asteroid, named Apollo Asteroid 1989FC…an asteroid that was, in fact, bigger than an aircraft carrier and traveling at 46,000 miles per hour, passed the Earth, and it was a mere 400,000 miles away. The Earth had been at that place in space just six hours earlier. Six hours was all that stood between the Earth and the asteroid. Had it hit the Earth, scientists predicted that it would have left a crater the size of Washington DC, and destroyed everything around it for up to a hundred miles. Of course, that asteroid did not hit earth, and so was forgotten in the minds of most people, with astronomers being the possible exception. Earth does get hit periodically with meteors…some larger than others, and our atmosphere deals with them quite often, burning most of them up, causing what we all know as a shooting star. I find it interesting that we are in the middle of another close encounter right now. This time it is with a comet…or to be more accurate, two comets.
The smaller comet, Comet P/2016 BA14, was difficult to see, but it passed by us at a distance of just 2.2 million miles, making it the third closest flyby of a comet in recorded history. The larger comet is called Comet 252P/Linear. It was first discovered back in 2000, and has been monitored since that time. Comet P/2016 BA14 was only spotted in January this year. At first, astronomers thought it was a potentially dangerous asteroid heading towards us. Comet P/2016 BA14 will make its closest approach at around 11:30am EDT on March 22 (2.30am AEST on March 23). Of course, if you live in the United States, these two occurrences will not be on Near Miss Day, but they will be for those who live in Australia. I don’t know if Australia recognizes Near Miss Day, but if they do, they would find this weeks event interesting too.
I think that most of the time, we think very little about space…at least most of us do. Space seems so far away, and while we know that there are lots of things floating around out there, we somehow don’t believe they will ever impact Earth. That is even more strange, in that the craters on the moon come from meteor strikes, so why would the Earth somehow be immune. Of course, it wouldn’t be immune at all. The Earth occupies pretty much the same space as the moon. So we could get hit. I know that 400,000 miles seems like a lot, but in the perspective of space, it would be classified as a near miss.
Bob and I went on the first hike we have taken in a very long time today. We used to hike 8 miles a day at least 5 days a week. Now our days are filled with something different…caring for Bob’s parents. His dad has Emphysema and his mom has Alzheimer’s Disease. It takes time to care for another individual…much less 2 of them. Something has got to give when you are caregiving. There is no way to spend the amount of time necessary to keep a person healthy and still spend all the time you normally did on yourself.
When I was able to walk 8 miles a day, I was not only in great shape, but I was at my ideal weight. Now, I have learned to forgive myself, and to know that I cannot “do it all” and still take care of my aging mom and in-laws. I may not be in the best shape ever, but I could not look myself in the mirror if I did not take care of them. Besides, I love them, so I’ll set my needs aside for a while and care for theirs.
Our hike today was harder than I am used to, but it felt so good, and I want to be able to do more of it. I know that the road I have chosen to take will limit the hiking or even the after dinner walking I will be able to do, but…well, life happens, and we have to follow where the road takes us. Many times it is more important to set aside our needs for a time to do something that is more important for someone else. People do it all the time. Raising children is a prime example of it.
I will get back to having time for me again. I’m not worried about that. It is the way that I will get time for me back that I am trying to avoid. They will need help for the rest of their lives, so as long as they live my time will be less mine…and that is ok. I’d much rather have the parents I have left be here a while longer, than have the time for me.
Yes, our hike today was lovely, and it took the work of 5 other people to make it happen. Corrie, Amy, Josh, Brenda, and Jennifer gave of themselves to give Bob and me a vacation, and it is a gift I will never forget. I know it was extra for each of them and their families sacrificed too. I want them each to know that I love them and I appreciate the time I have been given to rest and get my strength back. I will be forever grateful.
There are ancestors in my family tree whose very name makes me want to know more about. Some of these people have a lot of factual data associated with them, and one little blurb about who they really are. People like Angeloah Shaw and his wife Mary Sapney Shaw come to mind. I have heard he was a minister, but that is all I can find on him, so I wonder what else he did in life. My mom told me that he used to walk 12 miles to town, stay the night, and walk 12 miles back when they needed supplies. That seems like a long walk back with those supplies. I’m sure he was used to the 12 miles in, and since Bob and I have often walked 8 miles in 2 hours, I can see how he could do that, but we weren’t carrying boxes and bags of supplies either. My guess is that he was a man who was in good shape. Still that is not much to know about your great great great grandfather
Then there is Susan Frances Spencer. She is an ancestor on my husband’s side who’s last name is the same as my maiden name, making me wonder if we are related. Unfortunately, little is known about her, including very little factual data. I would like to know if she and I are related. To my knowledge there is not even a picture of Susan. She has eluded me for 36 years, but I keep looking. All I know of her is that she died 13 days after giving birth to her twin daughters, both of whom also died within 8 months of her death. I would like to know if she is related to the Spencer line from England that I come from, as do most Spencers in the United States, from what I have heard. Still, the Spencer line is usually so well documented, and then there is this girl, who seems to exist only in a few places in the documentation world.
Of course, there are the well known and well documented members of my family tree, which I wish was the majority. So much is known about them, and it is very interesting to look it all over, but for some reason it is the elusive ancestors that seem to intrigue me the most…maybe because they are elusive, I don’t know for sure. I will continue to search around to see what I can fid, hoping that someday someone will know a little more about these mysteries and will finally unlock the door to the whole story.