When I was a younger man I was lucky enough to spend huge chunks of my time wandering under the starry skies of Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and California. I loved being in somewhat remote areas, able to look up and see infinity looking back down at me. I made good friends with the Milky Way, the moon, Orion, and other constellations. I’ve often thought that my biggest regret living in a city full-time and being a somewhat responsible adult is I’ve lost my connection to the stars. I mean I can go outside and still see Orion, and he is a good buddy, but I sure can’t see infinity in the sky here in downtown SLC. I miss it…
Don’t get me wrong. All-in-all, I like living where I do. I can go out my front door and in five or ten minutes I’ll be walking next to a stream and up a canyon. That’s pretty sweet! I’ll see some beautiful animal running up the trail ahead of me, and constellations in the canopy of tree branches, so life feels pretty good. I love nature, and being able to walk around in it is great, so I’m not complaining. But I do miss the stars.
I can also tell you that I miss the Comet Hale-Bopp. Haha! Funny to say so long after the fact, but it was so great to be able to see that comet caught up in the spring sky of 1997. In the ancient world, from what I understand, comets were often seen as very ill omens. Maybe because there is some racial memory of a comet cataclysm, or maybe it was just seeing them streak across the (seemingly) eternal night sky was too much change to handle. For me anyway, Hale-Bopp just brought wonder. Any celestial event is a good celestial event in my book, I guess.
Well, there is another comet passing by the sun this week that has potential to become another celestial event that we may be able to see back here on earth. Comet ISON will reach it’s closest point to the sun in its orbit on Thanksgiving, November 28th. There is a good chance that as it does, its tail will blossom and flare and become observable here on earth. I certainly hope so! I’d love to see another omen shouting its way through my night sky, saying to me “Happy Tofurkey-Day!”.