Friday, October 16, 2015

Stars and planets put on an early morning show

Venus, the moon, and Jupiter have been putting on a spectacular show each morning before dawn. On these clear, chilly nights, as I walk eastward to pick up the newspaper in the driveway, I see the bright jewels in the sky, hovering over the treeline. Each morning is a little different. The moon slides away beneath the horizon, and the planets adjust their relationships.

I turn back toward the house and see Sirius, the Dog Star, and ahead of it, mighty Orion, the hunter with his belt jeweled with stars and brilliant Betelgeuse at his shoulder.

For a moment — just a moment — I see the night sky as our forebears must have seen it — a spectacular light show, ever changing but ever familiar, the constellations like old friends who come to visit at their appointed time throughout the year. Ambient light from houses and streetlights dim the stars to us modern observers, but the brightest ones still mark their spots against the black sky.

I cannot stay and marvel; I have appointments to keep. I walk back into the bright daylight of our home, sit at the kitchen table, drink coffee and read the paper.

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