I met, and fell in love with, the universe before I met boys. You never get over your first love…..
I’ve been losing sleep lately to a morning comet. Get the gear set up the night before, then wake before dawn to go outside and image. It’s always hard to wake up no matter how good the idea seems the night before. But I finally get up and pad toward the bathroom. The east facing window will tell me if the night has indeed stayed clear. I turn the corner….
..and am caught. Caught by the pool of brilliant white moonlight on the floor spilling through the partly open door. I can hear the night calling…
“Come on in, the water’s warm.”
Yes. I step into the pond of light, push open the door, and am lost looking up at the lovely Moon and two bright planets. A clear morning. Somewhere just to the left of blazingly bright Venus a comet is waiting.
Just like that, I’m awake, not a problem to layer up to head out into the crisp morning to greet the sky. Gear, of course, has some issues, but still we get some pictures.
Every time I go out, it’s more practice, I get a little better. Most of all, I just enjoy spending time out under the sky. The sky of Earth, full of stars, many of them with stories I know. Red giants. White dwarfs. Standing at the back porch, looking out into the trees, I see the bright stars of winter winking in and out in the west. You could imagine they twinkled on the tree branches.
Truth be told, I like being outside most days. If I go out for one thing, I’ll find excuses to stay out. Day or night. Rain or shine. Listening to the wind, the birds, the thunder. But the night, the night is special. To be out under a clear dark sky watching the universe go by is a wonder. I have truly enjoyed getting out more over the last several years, being aware of the rhythm of the seasons, the stars, the Moon and planets.
Dawn slowly lights the eastern horizon. The night now includes color as I pack up the gear. I linger outside, though, unwilling to start a busy day. The first bird song breaks the quiet. I find Venus, still bright just below the Moon. I watch, one eye on the eastern horizon as the first diamond of red spills over the hills. Slowly the Sun rises as I mark the position of both Jupiter and Venus. Waiting until the whole Sun has cleared the horizon, and yes, I can still spot both tiny shards of light in the now blue sky. Jupiter is gone five minutes later, but Venus….Venus I’ll see again as the Moon moves across it later in the morning. The night is gone, but I know the stars are still there. Time, though, to begin the day.