I got to show a few people the Orion Nebula tonight. Our astronomy club at the high school prides itself on urban viewing, and we have adopted John Dobson's approach to stargazing--we even call ourselves the Bloomfield High Sidewalk Astronomers.
The high school security lights make star-hopping an act of faith, and through faith we manage to find the nebula--we sort of could see Orion's sword, and from there we bumbled our way to the nebula.
Light that traveled over 1,200 years hit the eyes of several people here in Bloomfield tonight. Charlemagne was Emperor of the West when those photons left their source.
An older security guard born in another land, a young man who's fought a disability that he will not let define him, and a student transferring from our high school tomorrow all got to catch some old, old photons.
Earlier today, a spectacular winter day when the mercury rose to the mid-sixties, I chatted with a colleague, sharing the joys of drinking beer on the stoop on a day like today.
On a day like today, a few folks will sit on their stoops, drinking beer, telling tales.
"White trash," she said.
No, no, not trash. And on this side of town, not mostly white, either. I may be black Irish, but I am not white trash, nor are my neighbors. There's something civil and democratic about beers shared on stoops. Ben Franklin would have fit right in.
So on a warm night in February, using a telescope bought by citizens of a town not blessed by extravagance but blessed with a sense of enough, a few more people gasped at the unexpected and the inexplicable beauty of our universe.
And, yeah, we drink beer.
3 years ago