Friday, September 26, 2008

The vastness of it all

I'm sure everybody and their dog has blogged about the night sky. It's something we all look at, maybe even on a daily basis. It looks different, depending on where you're viewing it, how you're viewing it, which part of it you're looking at, what time of night it is (the list could go on...)

Last evening we attended a lovely dinner at the local Community College. Their Culinary Arts program hosts a dinner series with wonderful meals, good wine, local musicians, and interesting company. We like to attend these dinners and try new foods. Actually, mostly Claire tries new foods and Kelly pushes them around on his plate until Claire says "Here, let me eat that for you." That said, one of last night's courses involved a fried oyster, and Kelly kindly ate that for Claire! He eats anything that walks or swims.

So, after that we came home and we got out of the car and I was about to close the garage door but I looked up. Riveted in place, I nearly fell over backwards. Looking WAY up in high heels is a dangerous maneuver. Living out in the country means far less ambient light, which makes the stars appear so much brighter. All dressed up in our evening duds, we none the less lay down in the middle of the driveway to stare at the stars overhead. Sometimes, you just have to do a crazy thing like that in order to stop and take time to observe. There above us, in its hazy stillness, was the milky way, quite clearly visible, and tremendously vast.

Sure enough, a shooting star really did fly across the sky like the tail of a white mouse barely seen as it scurries out of sight. I was mesmerized for those moments, trying to take it all in, and yet knowing that what I could see was such a small slice in the enormity of the skies. I know it sounds cliché and overdone, but I really did think about all the people around the world who might be looking at that same sky, whether in daylight or in the dark of night, and I thought about how small the world seemed, and how vast the sky was. I thought about a lot of other things too, but they're too political and controversial for this posting, and I just let myself drift through the connect-the-dots sky and contemplated the arrogance of the theory that we are the only life form in existence.

I didn't take a picture because
1) it wouldn't begin to capture the scene
2) I don't have a fancy enough camera for that kind of photography
3) it just wouldn't do justice to the moment or my remembrance of it.

So this posting is without pictures - you'll have to make your own mental picture, or go out and look at the night sky yourself and just let your mind wander. Best done after a full meal and when it's not freezing cold outside.

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