Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Starry Nights

I like looking at stars.

The skies have been clear the past three nights, and that's given me plenty of chances to gaze at the heavens on walks with Hviezda. Really, I have little clue what I'm looking at. Sure, I can pick out Orion, my favorite because it conjures such a vivid image. The Hunter. That one fits to a tee. I, of course, also can pick out the Big Dipper, my favorite as a child because I imagined it scooping out fantastically giant scoops of ice cream. Grape Ice or Rainbow Sherbet. Mmmm. I had no problem locating the Little Dipper. Always felt kind of sorry for this constellation, so dwarfed by its cousin.

Still, I am woefully inadequate when it comes to stargazing. It's laughable, really. But I don't mind. I just enjoy looking at them. It's peaceful. It reminds me that there's something so much greater than ourselves out there, that our planet is a tiny, spinning speck in the vastness of space, a head on a pin, if that large, in our galaxy and irrelevant in size, shape or function when seen in the greater universe. I don't know much else that can inspire such sheer awe as the expanse of space.

Chalk up another good thing about life in a smallish New England town that I can see a decent array of stars on a clear night. I remember a friend of mine visited from DC. We were outside one evening, and he happened to look up. He was amazed he could see the stars. He couldn't recall the last time he had seen more than a few. I love DC, but that's kind of sad. Our skies should not be so bathed in useless light (needlessly sucking energy) that we can't see stars, even in our largest cities. It just disconnects us further from what's around us, clouds our perspective.

I am torn between wanting to live somewhere out in the country, where I can see multitudes of stars, listen to the whistling winds, hear the sounds of animals and the guilt and tedium that I would need to drive to get anywhere.

Please, Detroit, get me an electric car. If that happened, I'll see you in the country.

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