Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tonight, I fell into the sky

My husband likes to stargaze, and the two of us occasionally attend star parties at the observatory a few blocks away, but tonight he had an invitation to go to one further away, with the bait that we might see Mercury. Well, we did. Tonight, I saw 5 planets: Mercury, Earth, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. Wow. And I saw stars, and a couple of man-made satellites. (The last was really ironic, since I kept spotting satellites when I was wanting to see stars.) And I saw 5 moons tonight, with 4 of them belonging to Jupiter.

As everyone looked though the various telescopes that had been set up, my husband and I got out our binoculars. Early in the evening, we had the best viewing of the bats and the fireflies that were about, and of course we could track things best, plus getting to see Mars and Saturn together in the same field. People with more impressive viewing equipment invited us to see things like binary stars, the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, and even the colors of stars.

But at one point, I reverted to the most basic observing equipment of all - I laid down on a bit of scrap fabric with a rolled up towel for a pillow and just watched the big dipper through the mist and haze that plagued the telescopes all night. I looked around, breathing the night air, smelling the grass beneath our feet, feeling the soft-rough texture of the grass, admiring the lacy spread of the trees surrounding our clearing against the midnight blue sky, and noticing the play of light on the cloudy haze. I watched the fireflies still signalling to each other even in the late hours, and I stood to look into the sky.

Oh, as I looked up, I felt the weight of my body, the anchoring weight of those binoculars and was grateful to them, as I looked into the sky, feeling that possibly only that cloud might prevent me from simply falling into infinity and becoming yet another point in the sky. Later, as the sky cleared, I again looked up, and was disoriented - no binoculars, no cloud, surely I was falling, and would have no hope of returning to myself if the One who took me from me did not return me correctly, and yet, what joy to dance among the stars, to spin in the cosmic dance, even as only a mote of dust. I was falling upward, into the sky, spinning in that infinite darkness that yet contains all those points of light.

Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, who has sustained us and kept us to this day.

I realized that this is the blessing that can never be said in vain. Some Jews wear new clothing on the second day of Rosh Hashanna - the Jewish New Year, so that the blessing can be said and not in vain, but each heartbeat, each breath, is a gift so precious that we could whisper, sing, and shout that blessing every moment and not have it be in vain. Tonight, I sit at this computer after falling into the vastness of the universe though the gift of returning, and my heart sings. Tomorrow, I am going to be a very sleepy fool, but tonight, I have danced with the cosmos.


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Blogger Don said...

Beautiful. I love what and how you write. Thank you.

6/18/2006 5:48 AM  

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