I am amazed by what I saw out my window a few minutes ago. It’s been so long! I–I got teary-eyed. First a familiar blue-white twinkle. Then, nearby, a familiar reddish twinkle. And then, there it was–the tell-tale 3 stars in a row! I knew I was seeing my favorite constellation: Orion the Hunter! With the bright blue-white star, Rigel (top right), and the large red star, Betelgeuse (bottom left), and that “belt” of stars, he’s quite a stunning sight.
At first, I was shocked to see any constellation, period. I’ve caught only the rarest glimpses of stars since I’ve been living in the big city. I guess it’s thanks to the cool, clear weather we’re in right now.
To think… I once took seeing stars for granted. I grew up in a town not far from here. Back then, it was so far out in the country that you could see everything in the night sky. Even the Milky Way itself. I had such a tremendous love for the stars.
Although I’ve always wanted to be a librarian, being an astronomer was one of my big dreams too. I wanted to know everything about the stars and the other wonders of the sky. I was always at such peace being out under the night sky, picking out constellations, peering toward the center of the galaxy. When I got older, of course, I came to the dismal understanding that astronomy involves a lot of math… and if there’s anything that’s never, ever been my forte… it’s math. That pretty much sapped the life out of my desire to be an astronomer.
Since moving to the big city, I’ve taken not seeing stars for granted. Which is far more tragic. I always had my face turned toward the heavens. And now… I could never have imagined that such a thing could happen to me–me not looking at the stars!
It’s actually a rather painful realization. It almost makes me want to move back out into the country. These days, of course, the town where I grew up is just another sector of massive suburban sprawl. You can’t see many stars there any more. Definitely not the glow of the Milky Way. I imagine I’d have to go a long way out to rediscover those dark, vibrant skies. It really is heartbreaking what we’ve lost, and what we keep on losing more and more.
But I’m just glad I had those nights of my childhood. I suppose I’m more fortunate than some. And I’m most glad that tonight I was able to remember and reclaim a little glimmer of them! I’m having trouble settling down… I think I’ll turn of the computer and the lamp and go look at the stars some more.