The night sky where the Omegas live is awesome. Perhaps 80% of the time, you can see the Milky Way. The constellations pop in a way that citydwellers could never imagine.
As a child, OmegaMom lived in Chicago. A wonderful city, lively, interesting, full of parks, beaches, places for children to play and explore nature, science, art. Damned fine shopping, too. But the stars there are…well…pathetic is the word that springs to mind. Oh, you can see the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, a few more constellations. But the Milky Way?? Fat chance.
OmegaMom has a vivid memory of one childhood camping trip to the Indiana Dunes. This was way before today’s rather strict control of who camps where, when and how; OmegaMom’s very Bohemian/Beatnik parents and their buddies simply drove as close as they could to the beach, marched on down close to the water, built a huge bonfire, and set up sleeping bags (Tents? Were there tents? Memory is cloudy on this point.). Ray Watkins got out his guitar, OmegaGranpa got out his banjo, marshmallows were toasted, the fire roared into the sky with sparks dancing in the breeze.
When OmegaMom turned her eyes away from the dazzling bonfire, and looked out over the lake, her back to the light, and let her eyes adjust…stars started peeking out. More and more of them. And still more. As her eyes totally adjusted, to her awe she saw a path of stars arching across the sky.
The Milky Way.
It was stunning.
It was something she had read about, heard about, but never seen.
Glorious. Exciting. She laid on her back in the sand, listening to the music and the singing and the roar of the bonfire and the sound of the waves lapping on the beach, and stared up into the sky, amazed.
Nowadays, OmegaMom and OmegaDad can drive home from work in the twilight, and, if it’s late enough, and dark enough, when we open the car doors and stumble out onto the concrete landing pad…we merely have to glance upward and we are slammed with stars. The Milky Way leaps forth immeidately, with no need to wait for our eyes to acclimatize and adjust. It’s just there, beauteous to behold.
We can step onto the back deck in the middle of a moonless night, and see how the Milky Way has moved across the sky from where it was when we got home.
And on those nights when the Perseids or Geminids or Orionids are putting on a show, we can haul our sleeping bags out on the deck or into the yard, stare up at the sky, and begin counting meteors. (The meteor storm of a few years ago was the best–we set our alarms for 3 a.m., staggered out of bed, and OmegaMom peered sleepily out the windows in the back door to see if it was really going to be good or not…through the windows, she saw a fireball streak across the sky. ‘Nuff said: we hauled ass out into the cold darkness and watched for an hour, jaws dropping. That was a spectacular show.)
While there are things that OmegaMom and OmegaDad miss about the city, we wouldn’t give up our nightly sky show for the world.
Categories: [This 'n That]