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 :-)