February 22, 2013 by Last Star blog
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We’re where…? Werewolf, where’s Waldo, ready to wear, wash-n-wear, wear out, where’d who go? Truth be told where are we? The other night Patricia and I finished dinner and were sitting below listening, feeling, sensing. And it was motionless, the wind and the sea were quiet–simultaneously. A very rare occurrence around these parts. It is at those times that one can appreciate the precarious nature of sitting in a plastic little boat perched on top of the world holding on by the link of gravity and capillary action.
Here’s how I picture us sometimes, the world is a great big Christmas ornament, our little boat is the tiny little hook that fastens it to the tree. The ENTIRE world hangs below us. Is that the reality? Of course not but that’s how it feels sometimes. We are just a tangential link (the thinnest of links) to the sphere that is our globe. What keeps us here (see reference to gravity previous)?
We pause each evening and watch the sunset. That orange ball never disappoints. Seeing its inexorable march down the western sky is the same and yet different every night. The amazing part is that in general there is nothing to block your view of the sky here. No need to crane your neck, lean out of a window, peer over some trees. You get to see the whole thing, the clouds will generally enhance it, provide shadows and colors, sometimes comical figures–“yeah, I do see that”. And as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon and the l-a-s-t bit of orange sliver goes below the dark silver carpet that is the ocean you know for sure that tomorrow it will rise again. The sun has put on this spectacle for going on 4 billion years, there’s lots of these still to come. Just get out and be sure to get your share (if you live to be 80 you get approx 29K opportunities–don’t blow it).
When we go on deck at night and look up to see the stars it is truly an awe inspiring sight. Currently we are closing on a new moon and the moon sets shortly after the sun so by 9:00 PM it is some kind of dark in the night sky. As the minor cool fronts blow through the humidity goes down and the stars truly come out. The Milky Way is a reality, not just another candy bar. When looking up you can see the broad band that is the Milky Way and the edge of our galaxy. Orion is not a square-ish figure with a belt and a short sword–he’s thoroughly filled out. He’s filled with stars! What little constellations I know are all easy to identify. I understand there is an “app for that” for the i-Phone that permits you to get the GPS coords of your location and then the app will show you what is in the night sky. Just hold it up and it shows you all the constellations–pretty cool. Down side is that while looking at that 2.5″ screen you’ll roast your night vision, miss the shooting star above and lose the entire appeal of being outside and seeing the night sky as it’s looked for our earliest ancestors. They didn’t have an i-Phone.
We’re a short 120 nautical miles from Miami as the crow (or seagull) flies; a comfortable 2.5 hour drive just to give you scale if you could drive it. Yet sometimes it feels like we are a million miles away. In some cases we are all alone (like the other night) with not ONE light, not one other indication of human influence for 360 degrees. When we look outside and it is all dark you appreciate the solitude, the gift that mother nature can provide when you go look for it. There’s currently 7 billion folks sharing this planet, getting away is getting harder and harder. I recall stepping outside in DC and looking up and not seeing ONE star, not one! Too much light pollution, air pollution, humidity. I don’t miss that part at all.
I think, no, I know, that every day I pause and reflect on what a gift this trip is for me, to take a year off and within that year take a moment every day to appreciate what life has to offer. The days seem to fly by and yet each day brings a truly amazing thing to see and appreciate. The other day it was a manta ray of some type that was the most incredible indigo blue. It was neither blue nor black; heading towards a purple? Who knows, maybe it was the lighting. But I do know you had to be there to see it. And for now, where here and that’s where it’s at.