Saturday, March 26, 2011

Star Stuck

My wife loves looking at the nighttime stars!

There's only one thing that she loves more than that...dragging anyone in the house outside to look at them with her.

I don't think she's afraid of the dark, as she'll stand out there as coyotes, who are seemingly five feet away, bay at the moon, while bats circle her head.

And, she certainly is not gaining an authority on star groupings by gently forcing me or the boys to join her as, when she questions, "What constellation is that," we always answer the same way.  "It's the Twinkie constellation."

We get "that look," and she states, each time, "There is no Twinkie constellation!"

I murmur, "Twinkie, twinkie, little star....."

"If you're not going to enjoy this, then just go back inside," she commands.

Worked!  Well, actually, I dare not leave.  I quickly point, with a startle, and state, "Ooo, look, a shooting star!"

"That one," she asks, "that's moving across the horizon over the pine trees?  That's a plane!"


I spot a small dot slowly moving overhead, "Hey, a satellite!"

She, "How about another plane?"

Okay.  I'm no expert.  I can spot things moving, but when they're millions of miles away can I be faulted for a small mis-identification?

Back a bit, when it was announced that one could see the space station fly overhead, okay a small bright dot in the netherskies reflecting where it was, we got dragged outside.

Based on what we had seen in the newspaper, my wife had figured out just where and when it would be viewable.  She placed blankets on the ground, had blankets to cover us, brought out a retinue of binoculars, and was ready for space station sighting!

I was bemoaning the fact that it was cold out, it was dark (I'm not so intrepid with the knowledge that coyotes, bears, foxes, raccoons, skunks, bats, mosquitoes, ticks, and rabbits run amok at night...yes, rabbits, they nibble on things and they have big teeth!), and now that I was laying down on the ground, my sinuses were moving about and I was getting dizzy.

I should also mention the fact that it was close to bedtime.  I was starting to doze awaiting the arrival of the astronauts.  Hoping that I could wave to them, I had a flashlight, but that idea got nixed when my very own Carl Sagan told me to "Turn that thing off, I can't see the sky."

Can't see the sky?  There's like eighty million acres of it above us...and billions and billions of stars!

I would have said that out loud, but that would have been considered heresy against her revered Carl.

Then the next statement from her, as I lay there shivering.  "Isn't this romantic?"

Fortunately, I had turned the flashlight off and she couldn't see the look on my face, jaw askew, as the frozen word left my mouth, "Abbbb..soo...luuuut...lyyyy."

Nothing more romantic than laying on frozen ground, holding a flashlight you're banned from using in a pitch black environment, sinus pressure squeezing your brains out, while you scour the sky for six Russian cosmonauts who you have zero chance of actually seeing.  Was that a rabbit that just ran by?

We didn't find the space station.  We're sure it's up there, but there wasn't much to report.  In fact, it got a little hazy and my wife wasn't pleased that her view was partially obstructed.

The moon was shining a bit, and that light dimmed the stars and her enjoyment.  She reported that it looked like it wasn't going to be worth the wait and we should head in.  She was disappointed that she wasted her time waiting to see something special and ending up seeing nothing.

At the moment that she stood and turned for the door, I was taking a last look at the skyline and suddenly a bright arc of light screamed across the sky.  In seconds it gained life, shouted it's existence with a blazing stream of light, and then burnt away.  One could almost hear the crackle of fireworks.

I must have gasped or inhaled deeply, as she heard me and turned to ask me, "What was that?"

We've been married thirty years.  I said, "Nothing, probably a plane."

"With everything in the sky, how come you only ever see planes," she asked?  "Good thing, though.  If that had been a comet or the space station I would have been really upset!?

I love star gazing.


  1. Don't forget the Cow that jumps over the Moon. She jumps over so as not to be drawn in by the Moon's Green Cheese Tractor beam: a fate that took her sister years ago. She is being sponsored by the Twinkie Constellation Tourist and Convention Bureau that hopes to enter her in the Gallactic Moon jumping event at the next MILKy Way Olympics. (See Facebook's Man in the Moon page to order the Tee Shirt).

  2. Laurie...congrats on your first blog comment posting! Nice job, but strange. Are you getting enough oxygen wherever you are?