The Universe in your Hand

All the elements in your body were forged many, many millions of years ago in the heart of a far away star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart forming shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. 1

And flint.

This knapped flint at St Mary’s, Eastwell mimics the galaxies that created it. Bound within a chalky rind the silky dark core of bottomless navy, the milky tides and bronze sands depict a micro universe. The awesomeness of the celestial world on a human scale.

To me, these images look like something you might expect to see from the Hubble Telescope. The beauty and profundity of the universe is equaled in the formation of this flint and indeed, of St Mary's itself. A perfect meeting of faith and science.

Just as the Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be; just as everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was … once lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam… The very atoms of our bodies are part of this most terrifying and wondrous creation. Spinning planets to burning stars to freezing universes… 2

And here, at Eastwell, you can hold it in your hand.*

* Because it's a ruin and the walls are a bit crumbly.

1 Who, Dr. (2013) The Rings of Akhaten

2 Sagan C., (1994) Pale Blue Dot