Thursday, November 23, 2006

I wish I may, I wish I might

I wish I could share the view of the night sky above my house with you guys, but I don't have a slow enough shutter speed or a tripod to accomplish a decent nighttime photo. And a mere image would never be able to capture the incredible vastness of it. The magical feeling of gazing at the Milky Way and bright spots that are planets would never make it through a camera lens and onto this blog and for that, I'm sorry.

There is something to be said about a clear, crisp night when all the stars twinkle. It's something I struggle to define, something I feel so deep inside the very essence of myself I easily get lost in the feeling. But I can't define it to someone who hasn't experienced it. Tonight the sky is like standing in the center of a planetarium, with every star known to man dressed in its sparkly best and dancing against a velvet sky. If ever I feel insignificant and absolutely meaningless, it's when I'm getting a kink in my neck while staring at the stars. I never tire of their beauty and if I could choose how I would die, it would be lying on my back contemplating the universe above me. I can imagine no better way to leave this world than while gazing up at the amazing galaxy we live in, a galaxy that has been twinkling just beyond our reach, our comprehension, since before man first thought to gaze upwards and wonder beyond the next meal.

There is a geo-stationary satellite up there too, in the same spot every night, its reflective arms capturing the sun's rays and bouncing them back to earth in a rainbow of shimmering colors. A man made construction that adds a unique beauty to the night sky.

I often feel sorry for city dwellers who don't know the stars beyond the always bright Orion or Big Dipper. The ones who have never seen the Milky Way gliding across the black sky, it's snaking arms bright with billions of stars, a splash of diluted milk across a black marble slab. Do they know that in the blackest of nights when the air is cold and clear, Orion is sometimes hard to find among the millions of stars that dot his body? I can see every constellation, every cluster of stars and know that what I am seeing now must be very similar to what the Greeks, the Romans, the Celts all saw and named and knew like the lines on their hands. I know I will never have the opportunity to see them as brightly and as clearly as our ancient ancestors did, because even out here we get some light pollution from nearby towns and the dusk-to-dawn lights of neighboring farms.

There is something so primal, so pure, so absolutely divine about the stars that make their way across the sky each night. I know I said I wish I could share them with you, but I changed my mind, I think I'll keep them to myself for now. Because while I look at them and ask those unanswerable questions, I feel like they are mine and mine alone. They are shining and twinkling and dancing just for me. And I like it that way.

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