Monday, November 10, 2008

A secret: celestial obsession


I'm going to let you in on a secret obsession of mine. Okay, the secret is not that I have obsessions--that's something that's immediately obvious to anyone who talks to me for more than a few minutes. The secret is my obsession with the sky and all the interesting things that happen up there. 
When I was little, my parents used to tell me to stop shuffling my feet and looking at the ground. I was always surprised by that because so often I was thinking about things in the sky. Not the woo-woo X-files kind of things, but rather the immensity of the sky, and the nothingness of it, the great formations the clouds made, the magic of the stars so far away and so constant. I loved the way the sky changed, too. With each hour of the day, the colors were different. And as the seasons passed, the light shifted across the treeline in such a specific way that, if you looked closely enough, you could almost tell what month it was.


In the spring and summer, like every other kid who grew up in suburbia of the 70s and 80s, I spent a lot of time running around outside until long after the sun had set. It was a delicious feeling to lie back in the grassy yard as the dusk settled in around me. I would stretch out and stare at the sky where it met the branches of the backyard trees until the contrast was so great it hurt my eyes. Once the darkness was thick enough to blot out the spaces between the leaves, I could sometimes believe I could feel the earth as it spun toward the next day.



So I am a sky-gazer. My love for all things celestial didn't fade as I got older; if anything, it intensified. Among some of my most treasured memories are times that I saw something amazing in the sky: a sundog, a huge rainbow over the bay, the northern lights, an eclipse, a spectacular meteor shower, a towering lightening storm as it charged off the Atlantic onto our island...
The beauty of all of these is that they made me stop, and stare, and appreciate how tiny I really am in the scheme of things. I have been so awed by some of these that I have sprinted inside for the phone (think back before cell phones) and literally begged family members to "run outside as fast as you can and LOOK UP!"

So far, I am still looking for takers to watch the sky when something amazing is happening--will you join me? Tonight there is supposed to be a fantastic meteor show(er) called the Taurids, visible in the Northern Hemisphere just before midnight. If you are so inclined, take a look into the eastern sky, and see if you can see some shooting stars with me.

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8 comments:

La Belette Rouge said...

I have to say that the bright orange sunsets here in SoCal are amazing. They take my breath away. I have tried to take a picture of these skies and each photo disappoints.

Tonight I will go out and look at the East sky and see what I can see.

Irene Latham said...

Hi Kirie - I too have a sky obsession... I've written quite a few space-related poems (how to watch the leonids, upon hearing the news pluto is no longer a planet...) over the years and am certain it is a theme that will continue to pop up in my writing. What's really cool is I live about an hour and a half from Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center. And we are having a spring equinox reading at a local university's planetarium! Wish you could come...

Kirie said...

Ah, the best-laid plans...we had a cloudy front move in just around 11:30 last night, and while it was pretty to watch the clouds, I only managed to see one shooting star. I'll have to try again for the Leonids next week.

Sandra Foyt said...

Personally, I've always been afraid of the dark. I'd never spend time outdoors at night by myself. No special reason, just an overactive imagination.

Night photos, however, are beautiful. I've never been able to take good sky shots like yours. You might like Kikolani's moon shots too. See http://spedr.com/4ixrc

Kirie said...

Belette--how were the starry skies last night? Probably not quite as amazing as the blaze of prose that Randal wrote--lovely. K.

Kirie said...

Irene--I would love to join you for a spring equinox reading. If only the distance of roads were as simple to cross as digital distance...
I would love to see your poems. Are they in your latest collection?
K.

Kirie said...

Sandra--thanks for visiting my blog. And thanks for the referral to the moon photos. I'd love to be able to capture something like that one night.

Fight your fear of the dark next week and check out the Leonids---or just watch them from your warm window. It's just as good.
K.

La Belette Rouge said...

Kirie: I saw nothing. I forgot to look at the sky. I could not quit reading Randal's dazzling prose and it knocked out everything I had planned to do yesterday. Le sigh!

 
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