Star Struck

10

February 5, 2020-

In engaging with a group of First Graders, this morning and afternoon, I was pleased to see that their awareness of the sky, our solar system, and constellations equals, if not surpasses, that of many in much older generations.  There was even a mini-debate about whether Pluto should be still regarded as a planet. (My take is that it should be so regarded, given that it orbits the Sun and it has at least one moon.)

The kids have been taught well, as to how to recognize the various constellations.  I was probably in fifth grade, before knowing of much more than the Big and Little Dippers, and Polaris.  The ability to spot Antares, Betelgeuse and Sirius, among others, has already entered these children’s intellectual exchequers.

This exchange underscored the presence, at last night’s State of the Union, of an eleven-year-old boy, who has dreams of one day exploring our planet’s Moon, and Mars.  The generation some call The Alphas will definitely have a shot at the beginning stages of  human interplanetary travel, so this early awareness of the Heavens is well-placed.

I will spend another day with the group, tomorrow, and hope to engage them further, in the notion that humanity may both explore the near solar system and find ways to learn much about the systems orbiting the intriguing bodies of the Milky Way and beyond.

Goosenecks

8

October 8, 2019, Blanding, UT-

Last Saturday, evening, I watched an improvisational dance performance, called “River of Stars”.   The performance, by Human Nature Dance Troupe, of Flagstaff, came to mind again last night, as I chose to sleep under the stars, at Goosenecks State Park, near Mexican Hat, Utah.

Two rivers, one above, the other below,

give me solace.

The San Juan snakes around,

a series of limestone formations,

giving the impression

of goose’s necks.

It is a serene, sacred spot,

and I lie in a sleeping bag,

insulated from the cold,

whilst gazing up into

the river above,

a true River of Stars.

Constellations,

known to me

since my youth,

present themselves

as a constant flow.

The Moon is between us,

and the audible drone

of an occasional airplane

challenges my eyes

to find it,

among the shimmering

islets

in the celestial river.

Un-Frozen

4

January 13, 2016, Prescott- The year is starting to show its own character, as years always do.  There is less of the despair that seemed to hang over from its predecessor.  Maybe the State of the Union speech both reflected the longing for a new rising of national unity, or maybe it will ignite the light of that coming together.

There are issues:  More people’s lives are being snuffed out, both by the forces of authority and by those of anarchy.  David Bowie had not been dead 48 hours, when people began speaking out, regarding a heinous crime he is said to have committed, I believe in the ’70’s.  The forces of irreligion, masquerading as an army of the faithful, continue to wreak havoc, just about anywhere they walk.

Yet, hearing my little 4 and 6-year-old neighbours, riding their tricycle and bicycle along the alley that they rule, I know that several right things will happen in 2016.  The work that I need, in order to accomplish a few immediate goals, is presenting itself, and I get the sense that the Creator wants me to achieve some key tasks.

Regarding the prompt of Winter Planets and Constellations (#5):

Most of us are frozen, far beyond Sol.

Earth’s antennae signal us, calling out for love.

Each of us has our own denizens, living ‘neath the cold.

Microbes and carbonites alike, rarely venture to the ice above.

Terrestrials shall not see us, until the Universe says  “Behold!”

Yet, below the surface, we live unfrozen, in constant communication, undubbed.

We are the Winter Planets, and the constellations who light the chill.

Some clear, cold night, sit by your fire, and let us share our thrills.