Do you remember going to a planetarium in school? You would sit in the seats that are laid back so you are looking up. The lights would dim, and all of a sudden the ceiling became a sky filled with tiny lights — the Big Dipper to the left, Sirius (who now has satellite radio named after him), and other constellations. We leaned back and listened to the narrator, thinking it was kind of cool but wondering when would we ever use this information. Well, three decades later, I now know. Stepping out the front door of the beach cottage looking up, there it is — the ceiling of the planetarium in my front yard; so vast and full of stars, glimmering against the midnight blue canvas. All is quiet except for the ocean as it meets the shore, ever so constant in and out, with the pull of the moon.
The moon, yes she too is up there among the stars. Tonight she is a small Mona Lisa smile with a pearl sheen to her. I imagine Columbus saw these stars and let them guide him to his place in history. I suppose they would guide most mariners, even the pirates, as they are a consistent and constant force. Following the stars must be intriguing and inviting; they pull you toward them but are never in reach. You simply must go along the path they show and know the end will be where you want to be.
The sand is cool as my bare feet step out to see the beauty of the night. I wander across the beach and gaze out over the sea looking up. I encourage my brain to think back to my youth: Which one has the belt? Ah yes, Orion. And over there is, could it be, the Milky Way? Some are more distant. Star dust fading into the galaxy millions of miles away. Venus, the ever-constant, luminous, cosmic body, radiates into the night like the belle of the celestial ball. So clear, it’s as if you could reach out and touch them. What a wonder. Imagine that this same sky is visible all over the world, and yet it cannot be more beautiful than it is on this island at this moment. Quietly, I wander back toward the house. The palm fronds wave a gentle good night, and the world turns.