Some amazing skies I've seen lately. Unforunately, I had no way to record them for posterity.
The first was Thursday morning, when I saw the thinnest of crescent moons hanging over a the pre-dawn glow that spread low on the Eastern horizon. A crescent so slim and brittle one was afraid it might break in a driving autumn wind. The atmosphere was so clean and clear (so different from summer) that behind the crescent one could see very plainly the bulging form of the unlit portion of the moon, its solidity and roundness so palpable that it looked like someone had hung a Christmas ornament among the stars.
Then this morning I again became an accidental stargazer. Sweet Wifey had just left for the day and I was about to start my morning prayers. I have always struggled to keep any discipline and consistency in my prayer life, and having a routine is almost a necessity. When my schedule is disrupted or goes through major changes, my prayer life suffers for weeks. I am a creature of habit. I am also not a morning person. This particular morning (as with most) if I closed my eyes to pray, my brain assumed it was time to go back to sleep.
But I'm also a very visual person, and when my eyes are open for prayer, the world is full of distractions for me. So, I went to our big picture window to look out on the pre-dawn blackness of the woods, so that I would have as few visual distractions as possible. I was delighted to see the stars out and shining brilliantly in the pristine autumn air. Orion was clearly visible, even through the tangle of oaks with their remaining tattered leaves. If one has to be visually distracted during prayer, one could do worse.
Then I saw what I realized was a prodigy, but one routinely overlooked. I saw a man-made star, blinking its multi-colored lights silently across the heavens. The thing is, had any cave-dweller seen such a thing in ages past, it would have been some sort of apocalypse, a portent and a wonder. If I understand correctly, primitive people would often speculate that there must be heavenly beings or even men riding aboard comets and meteors. Here I was looking at a multi-colored shooting star, knowing full well there were people riding in it, and it hardly registered on my conscious mind as I sipped my coffee. How dull our minds must be, to see such a thing as mundane.
It reminded me of this quote by Ralph Walso Emerson, taken from David Zach's book of quotations called Worth Remembering;
If the stars should appear just one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore!