Starry Starry Night

A friend of mine is a teacher, and she told me a funny story this morning. She took a group of 50 sixth graders to a camp up on the north shore of Lake Superior. They went to an evening teaching program, and she was walking the kids back to the building where they were staying. The night was pitch black and though they could see the light from the dorm as they walked toward it, it was too dark to see the ground or even the people right around you.

Now, some of these kids were inner-city tough-guys, and at one point, my friend heard the thud of a punch and somebody cried out. Some kid had punched another kid, knowing that he couldn't be seen. A commotion was starting around her, and my friend knew she had to do something, even though she couldn't see a thing. She reached out and grabbed some kid near her, then called out, "Look up!"

At the sight of the myriad stars and the Milky Way above them, the kids fell silent, except that one of them said one word - "Damn!"

This story reminds me of this, by Claudius Ptolemaeus:

I know that I am mortal and the creature of a day;
but when I search out the massed wheeling circles of the stars,
my feet no longer touch the earth, but, side by side with Zeus himself,
I take my fill of ambrosia, the food of the gods.

If you want to taste of the ambrosia, start at space.com:


At October 10, 2004 at 10:21 PM, Blogger Emily said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At October 10, 2004 at 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your story, Mark. I had a similar experience with an ex-husband...

...we took the kids on our first trip to Disney World. We spent three days seeing every manner of show and spectacle and parade and razzle-dazzle they had to offer. Almost totally jaded, we were walking to the parking lot at 10:00 and looked back to see the last of the fireworks display.

There, hanging in the dark, velvety Florida spring sky was the moon, gigantic, gorgeous, luminous.


...almost literally.

Then my ex-husband said:

"How'd they DO that?"




At April 27, 2005 at 3:16 PM, Blogger gloria said...

I loved your blog, for spiritual reasons. The inky blackness all around. The temptation in boredom and fear to get punchy. The sweet call to look up - which rarely disappoints. Sweet.


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