Tuesday, April 15, 2014

And therefore...

Last night's eclipse was... awesome. I tried to snag some pix with my phone, but the iPhone is not really an astronomical-photography kinda device, and Pasadena is ever so generous with its low-hanging nasty-amber-light street lights, but other folks had much better stuff to work with...

This was a "quiet bucket list" moment for me. I've seen a few partial eclipses, but never a total, and never one that had the dull-red glow that books and magazines had foretold. We had a bunch of city trees in the way, but although I couldn't get a good picture of all three of moon/Mars/Jupiter, we could still see them. And they were all... cool. Very, very cool.

And although I didn't make it up to the vaguely-local Griffith Observatory, I can only imagine that every square inch of lawn was taken up by stargazers, many of whom would have brought their own telescopes, and (I also imagine) would have been complaining about how if L.A. would only have had the sense to turn off the city lights, maybe then we could have all finally gotten a decent view of the sky.

Two nights ago, I was enjoying my nightly look at the sky, thinking about the next night's eclipse, and then thought "Gee, I wonder what it would look like if we had two moons?" You know, the sort of thing those of us who grew up with the original Star Trek series remember quite fondly...

And then I thought, "I imagine it'll look pretty much just like it does now. Except... with another moon."

But looking into the sky with MS-gifted hypersensitivity was a wonderful, wonderful experience. Something about dim light off the Earth shining on the moon (like how you can kinda sorta see the new moon vaguely illuminated just enough to kinda sorta see it) really points out the moon's three-dimensionality. It's not a plate, it's a sphere (ok astronomers, it's close enough to a sphere, just leave it at that for now). It's a neighboring object that's as real as a tennis ball, as real as a bowling ball, as real as the thing we're all riding on, this Earth. And then the other two planets with whom it shared the sky... they too seemed very clearly to be objects, not just dots. (OK astronomers, I know the stars are spherical-enough objects too. Work with me here.) But they were very clearly co-travelers, just like us. They're each wonderfully individual, they're each full of mysteries, they can surprise you with how brightly they shine, and if you're able to look closely, you'll see even more amazing things... undiscovered things.

So yeah, I'm still wracked with neurological nonsense, there are things I really really want to do which are physically, to all outward appearances, still ostensibly within the realm of "possibilities" except sometimes I can't even begin to scratch at them because "outward" may be willing but "inward," at least as it expresses itself with "enough inward energy to sit up and do something creative using the computer," isn't working so good.

But MS or not... just look around you. Really look. And enjoy. Because, as the anime Kino's Journey always began, "The world is not beautiful. And therefore... the world is beautiful."

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