Friday, August 5, 2011

August 5: Starry starry night

We stepped out of a friend's house on Owls Head harbor on this starry night and heard the music of the spheres. Well, it was actually music drifting across the water from the Lobster Festival in Rockland. But on this clear summer evening--with a first quarter moon rising from behind the trees and billions and billions of stars overhead--it seemed like some sort of celestial event.

As we drove home, my husband and I talked about what it must have been like back before there was any ambient light, when the night sky and all its stars were perfectly clear and visible, undiminished. No wonder the stars were so much more important in people's lives then. They could actually see them on a regular basis, learn their patterns, track them. I wonder what the best place on earth is to observe the night sky now. The wilds of Alaska? Somewhere in the middle of the Rockies? The Gobi Desert? An uninhabited tropical island? The Himalayas? I know I've camped in places in the past where the night sky was startlingly clear, packed with stars--the kind of sky that when you climb out of your tent in the middle of the night, you just stand there in utter rapture, your sense of self lost before the broad spectacle of the universe.

Even with the street light pollution near our house, we still felt a small sense of awe when we stepped out of our car and looked up. And here, the crickets are trilling. Who's to say they aren't harmonizing with the many distant suns twinkling overhead?

August: crickets, stars,
waxing moon rising slowly.
These are the best nights.

1 comment:

  1. In 1998 I arrived happily in Maine living in the very rural northern corner of Searsmont - only to lose my job 18 months later and it was back to MA for another couple years till I could not stand it any longer and came back to Maine WITHOUT a job. Oh how I mourned -- especially for the dark skies and brilliant stars I experienced while living at my friends' farm.