Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Starry Starry Night

For the next month, I'm going to be doing a series of blogs centering around simple pleasures :)  I hope you enjoy my first one:
Simple joys in life: Just look up
My whole life, with the notable exception of college, I have lived out in the boonies. I relish the distance between neighbors, the uncluttered roads and complete lack of traffic lights. I enjoy the sounds of nature, and more than anything, I adore the blanket of stars that are always so visible from my home.
To this day, I can clearly recall being roused by my father in the early morning hours in February of 1986, when Halley’s Comet last streaked by the Earth. We bundled up against the frigid night air and headed outside, the pebbly concrete walkway starkly cold against my bare feet.  My dad had a special handheld telescope for just that occasion, and we passed it between us, taking turns looking up into the inky darkness, speckled with a million pinpricks of light.
I was tired, and a bit groggy, and I don’t remember whether I actually saw the comet or not, but I remember my father’s excitement at sharing a once in a lifetime experience with us. I remember the vastness of the heavens stretching above us, and the instinctive knowledge that it was an important moment, to be remembered forever.
Throughout my childhood, our trusty old white telescope regularly made appearances on the back deck, pointed to the moon, to Saturn, to the North Star—whatever Dad could pick out.  We lived on a sprawling, treeless, 2 acre lot in the rolling hills of Kentucky. Our view of the heavens was unspoiled, unobstructed, and unlimited.  Orion’s Belt, The Big Dipper, The Little Dipper—these are the things I was taught to find, and to this day I still look for them.  After all these years, I never stopped looking up.
Every night, I take the dogs out right before bed, and as they wander around and take their time, so to do I. My view is much more obstructed than it once was, with towering pine trees on all sides, but directly above the driveway, I can still see it. The vast carpet of the heavens, like a handful of pixie dust scattered across the finest indigo velvet.  It draws me, a tugging deep in my soul that can’t be set aside.  And I don’t want to set it aside.  The stars that I see are the same that have been seen by my ancestors, the exact same ones that my friends and family around the world see, and the same ones that our descendents will see. 
I love the consistency of that. I love the common tie, one that has nothing to do with geography, or time, or privilege.  In this, the privilege is equal. 
So, as we all shake our heads in wonder as man puts one of the most advanced vehicles ever conceived on Mars—and records the experience in 3-D HD!—I just hope we don’t stay too glued to our computer screens and TVs.  Don’t forget to go outside and just… look up.

Feeling a bit whimsical today, can you tell?  :) Tell me—are you a fan of the night sky? Can you recognize any constellations? And dude - how cool was the engineering for the Curiosity??

Now, it's late and I haven't made this recipe yet, but holy cow, how perfect is this:
MOON PIES!!  I can't *wait* to try this :-)


  1. Love the night sky, Erin! I live in the boonies, too! I do the same thing. I take out the dog and stare at the sky. I watch the occasional airplane mix with the stars as it heads north to Reagan National. Since moving to our home, I've learned to recognize Venus & Mars, I can actually see some of the constellations I learned about as a kid and I love following them as they move across the sky. I love that if I look just to the right of it, I can see Andromeda (hubby taught me that). If a meteor shower is forecast and the sky is clear, hubby & I have been known to lay down on the drive and stare at the sky in the snow. : )
    Love Moon Pies! : )

    1. Yay, Amy - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who still enjoys this simple pleasure :) I'm so sad that I missed this weekend's meteor shower, but you can't argue with clouds, lol.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Well, we're cut from the same cloth, so you know how I feel about the night sky. I'm thankful for a hubby who feels the same way:) We even have a seat at The Griffith Observatory! Did you get to see the meteor shower? Night 1 was a bust for me, but night 2 we went down to the beach and got to see those miraculous streaks in the sky that takes my breath away every single time!
    As for Curiosity, I think it is the coolest and I can't wait to see all the rest there is to see on MARS! MARS! Come on. Amazing. I love that the science fiction writers all knew that we'd go there some day.