Sunday, Nov. 17, 2002, 2:55 AM

Don't fall on me

The stars are shooting through the sky, showering the world with fragments of alien dust. Planet dust, star dust, comet dust, satellite dust, moon dust all mingle with the atmosphere in a delicate dance that meteorologists will accurately fail to predict. And I find it interesting that the world is losing a little bit of itself all the time when the noble gasses, free and non-reactive float slowly away from Earth, propelled faster than escape velocity by the sheer excited movement of it's own elemental being. And the lightest gases, although unusually social with other elements, still find occasion to misanthropically drift away from mother Earth into the recesses of space. And as these gases drift lazily away from the shelter of our atmosphere and magnetic field to be buffeted and carried along by the solar winds the Earth continues her constant flight on a path forever falling toward the Sun but always missing, all the while collecting debris. A subtle drizzle of space dust falling forever earthward. These particles attract the attention of disparate molecules of water looking for a purpose, or just a party. Slowly, at first, water clings and the collects around these cosmic ambassadors, and then, like all good parties, the gathering gets out of hand and attracts the attention of the world at large. The gravity of the situation is realized and the party, literally, comes down, and as it does it picks up more and more attendees. Groups of water drops congregate into massive cloud banks, until saturation is reached, and all at once exceeded. The rain speeds toward the land, past cathedral steeples, past and through leaves, beyond lampposts and flagpoles, to dash itself upon umbrellas, cars, rocks, sidewalks, heads and grass. Exploding and reforming into puddles and miniature torrents in the gutters, and running wild picking up candy bar wrappers, lottery tickets, cigarette butts and the other detritus of modern life. Sweeping it along just as the solar wind had swept the original particles along in the cold void of space. Eventually running into sewers, through culverts and streams into rivers. Some will come to know the sea, others will come to rest in the bottom of ponds and bogs full of decomposing matter, and others still will come to rest on land as the water that carried them to Earth is absorbed by the land or baked away by the sun. And then the Earth will adopt and make its own this extraterrestrial matter. It will become part of the whole system by being buried in lakes, floating in the ocean, breathed by animals and eaten by fishes. And if science is correct then we are all made from the innards of exploded stars. Huge roiling masses of gas fusing together to become heavier and heavier elements. Eventually collapsing under its own weight, crushing these elements into yet heavier components before blowing itself apart. Supernova refuse; the evolution of rock; life born of fire through the death of billions of suns. A life bent on reproducing and destroying, eating, sleeping, consuming, creating and moving from the point of origin toward its own demise. And that is why I'm here looking at the shooting stars. Looking at the ancestors of my progeny falling from the sky. Gazing at the legacy yet to be created. Contemplating the future as its past falls all around me.