April 4, 2009

Magic in the sky on a cloudy night

Milky Way through Scorpio (Mesr Village, Dasht-e-kavir, Iran) by Alireza Teimoury on Flickr.

That's downtown L.A. to the left [by Joits on Flickr]. Bright lights all night long and not a star in sight: "Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!"

Great place to look at the night sky: the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, on a road south of Second Mesa. Especially after you've stood for hours on a Shongopovi rooftop watching the conclusion of Niman [the Going Home ceremony], and after you've enjoyed a fine dinner with a Hopi family and friends. I never expect the stars to be aligned like that again.

A Southern California suburb, on the other hand, is not the best place to look for the Milky Way. Just saying. Not that we don't look up and hope, night after night. And once in a while something amazing happens: it's after dark, there's heavy cloud cover, I'm outside with the dogs and from far above, faint but just loud enough to recognize, come the calls of geese flying north. Time's arrow, time's cycle.

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