Seeking Out the Sky

December 5, 2017



The world is actually getting brighter, but that's not always a good thing. Sometimes you need to seek out the darkness to find the real light.



A few nights ago, I rode my bike home from a dinner, and it was a beautiful night so I decided to ride along the water, away from the town near where I live. The moon was almost full, so bright in the sky and I swear it was actually commanding me to stop and marvel at his beauty-so I did. I wasn’t the only one though.  Just in front of me standing on the beach- a young family were gazing up too-the dad was holding a small boy’s hand, and the mum had a little girl in her arms. She was guiding her daughter with her finger- to the stars. I remember my mum doing the same thing and remember too thinking that those stars lead to magical, brilliant other worlds.


Now days detailed images of planets- Mars, Jupiter, Earth and of course our beloved moon are easy to come by, but that feeling of wonder hasn’t changed one bit in spite of it.


 One year at Uni, I decided to take an astronomy class, not the greatest decision, but there were a few high points. We had to do a telescope lab focused on the moon-at night of course and seeing those craters up close for the first and only time was something I’ll never forget, looking through such a powerful view finder and imagining those first astronauts walking on that dusty surface (or did they) and it was also memorable because the lab fell on my 19th birthday.  but even after that, I still see the moon as magical and-clearly other worldly-the way I did all those years ago in my mother’s arms.


Legends are full of starry sky allegories, those being guided by the stars, and those being changed by the moon.


It took me years to actually see the man in the moon. I just couldn’t get it-now I see him all the time when I look. I don’t know why I was unable to see him, but then I’m not very good at stereograms either.


When I moved to New York, I don’t really remember spending much time looking up. And if I did, seeing stars was not so easy. A recent article in the Journal-Science Advances says that earth is losing its darkness. Our artificial world of light is spreading and growing brighter, not just making our night sky more difficult to see, but disrupting all beings on the planet.


For us humans, this means a disruption to our day-night biological clocks. For other creatures, it can be much worse-with over 30% of vertebrates and 60% of invertebrates being nocturnal-interspecies interactions, pollination and even microbial disturbances are on the rise-with possible detrimental effects.


I guess because the night sky is getting more difficult to see, I’m looking at it more-every chance I get really-I’m starting to really appreciate it more now, grateful that I get to see stars at all in fact.


So, maybe where ever you are, big city or small town, you too could take a moment some nights to find that first star, the one that shines the brightest. Then move left or right up or down and find its friends, those less twinkly but no less magical.  Maybe make a wish, who knows, it might just come true.


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