Monday, June 30, 2014

Lessons From the Night Sky

My dad was visiting this past week; it was so fun having him here.
His trip was impromptu, and I didn't plan much, but we ended up doing  the coolest thing.
Every Saturday of a New Moon, Mt. Tamalpais hosts star gazers to check out the night sky through the astronomy club's telescopes.
This past Saturday was a clear, cool night
and eventually twilight started to give way,
and the stars began to pop.
We climbed a ladder to a giant telescope and saw a star mass-
a big cluster of millions of stars swirling around the sky.
We were shown a star that had burnt up and died -
leaving a hole in it's middle, clouded in a light blue hue. Sad.
We saw Scorpion's tail -
a constellation only visible in the summer months.
We peered through two different telescopes
to catch a glimpse of Saturn.
It looked like a little video game icon, but you could clearly see it's rings. Awesome.
We traced the outline of the Big Dipper and paused to stare at The North Star.
 Did you know, The North Star holds steady as the entire northern sky rotates around it?
I think that's so romantic. And amazing. That mighty North Star.
Waiting for the stars on top of Mt. Tam
Every few minutes, the astronomers would step in and readjust the lens and positioning of the telescopes.
So much movement, both in the sky and on earth, the stars and planets easily jump out of view.
My dad and I were speaking with one of the astronomers as the telescope was realigned,
and he said something that really struck me.
He remarked that we know so much about the ground we walk on,
and yet, the sky remains a mystery to so many people.
Rarely, do we ever look up.
And we should!
 Because it's the same sky up there, night after night.
If you ever feel a little lonely, take comfort in the fact that there is familiarity up above.
The same old smattering of stars, to help guide you on your way.
I thought a lot about this the remainder of the weekend.
There are so many things I am excited about in my life right now...
but simultaneously, these things bring confusion.
And there are variables that cloud my view.
It's hard to navigate, and I wish I had the patience of an astronomer.
But sometimes, just  like with the telescope, you have to let things settle a bit
before you can see what your looking for with a clear eye.
Happy star watching, friends.