Oh, how I miss the stars!
Growing up, I could look up on any given night. If it wasn’t raining or foggy, I’d see the sky plastered with bright, crisp points of blue, white and green light, shimmering in the black velvety sky. Toward the horizon the bright lights shot the horizon with whitish-green or orange and blotted them out, but above the canopy was a diamond glitter matting of sparkling jewels. The Milky Way laid itself in a hazy, wraith-glow across the sky and invited grass-and-dew imaginings of far away worlds.
Things seem different to me east of the Rockies. The stars seem so few, so faint, so isolated and rare. They poke through the sky desperate and weak, seeking someone to notice their presence, to turn a smiling eye on them. But they don’t have much of a chance here – the air is heavy, humid, murky. The ravaging city lights cast blinding, harsh, glaring and merciless coronas. The stars are blotted behind clouds, wet air and the smothering, suffocating scattering of sodium-vapor lamps, headlights, neon signs, marquis signs, golden arches, grinning monarchs and roller coaster decoration tubes of yellow, green, red, purple.
I haven’t seen so many of the familiar night companions I watched in my youth – Orion, Ursa Major, Pleiades, the Milky Way. The last I saw of them was on a wind-swept, ragweed crusted hilltop on the southern edge of a river, staring through binoculars to identify the Seven Sisters independently. The blanket of shining lights above seemed to ripple with the warm winds which raced breakneck through the valleys and canyons and rattled the skeletal grasses and gnarled old oaks.
My wife and I traveled east with Orion on our right shoulder for three thousand miles, and when we at last turned north to head for what we have come to call “The Black Hole,” I began to reflect on how, perhaps, that name is more fitting than I first thought. In a black hole, even light cannot run fast enough to escape. And here, we can’t seem to run fast enough to escape. But we’re in good company, because this black hole in our world seems to even suck the light out of the stars before it reaches us.
All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
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