BLACK ON BLACK
| June 2001
The black night covers my clothing, my face and curtains my telescope. Those around me are a blur of black silhouettes making ready for the night’s viewing. The black outline of the distant trees and horizon defines the lighter black sky. The Milky Way divides and separates the sky into many hues of gray-black. All color is tucked away until the return of the white light time. As we begin to view, cares, troubles, the difficulties of day fade into black. The daylight business of the earth is now quieting as well, except for an occasional distant coyote or an owl in pursuit of like feathers.
The excitement of the nights possibilities has led us to pack all our equipment and drive long distances for the perfect black. We seek the unseen objects of casual clusters and momentary glitter in a time of busy confused lives. Twinkles, smudges, frail wisps of grays, fill the eyepiece. Feathered elements of nebulas dance to the beacons that populate the black. We are in hunt. Like any hobby, with the search comes the stories of former night’s glories or losses. The stories are tall, filled with wonder and stretched just a little bit for the joy of telling. We have all missed that object, barely found one or just plan found ourselves blind. We are wondering if that object has moved and tease the idea that the star charts might be wrong. But we pursue, unwillingly to find that one piece of tucked away light glitter. Some nights we can do nothing wrong, the universe is ours. While other nights the connection between us and the star seems futile. But our hearts are hooked and we will return again and again. It does not matter if we get cold or even if we get tired. We are in the chase mode. Our bodies maybe earth bound but our minds are free to venture back in time. We are explorers out to touch the untouchable. Other persons may fly to the moon but we draw unfamiliar light sources down through a telescope’s core to our eyes. We bring the universe to us.
Our hearts find nurturing in the friendships of fellow silhouettes. We bound our voices to the silhouettes who offer support and encouragement as we travel millions of miles away. Because of the black we often know the voice before we know the face. Egos are checked at the door. The friendships among amateur astronomers are full of heart. I have yet to meet one that would not share their viewing with me. For a passion is easy to share.
We wish the black and the transparency would remain until further notice, but as always, the black fades into the stillness of the dawn and the black collapses. We are saddened by the arrival of the light, yet we feel the joy deeply within our core from the objects of light that have filtered into our mind. The treasures of the night linger in our thoughts for days and when our minds are at rest, not busy with the daily life issues, the memories filter back in and bring a smile to our face.
Upon relinquishing the night of viewing, the much needed rest becomes center stage. We apologize to the body for the length we have stayed in the darkness. We promise our bodies not to do it again, until the next time. With legs of lead, necks hyper-extended, we take our contented hearts off to a final black and retreat into a new world sleepily filled with thoughts of destinations farther than we will ever physically travel. For the next few days the mind is quiet and at ease because the view of the universe brings to our lives a sense of who we are. The greatness of the universe reminds us of our greatness. It reminds us that we go beyond our four square walls. When we view, we extend forever. And though our worlds may change from time to time, the universe remains the same. It offers peace to the troubled heart. And when the sky returns to clean and the black returns, we will follow the ritual of setting up the silhouetted telescopes and enter our search once again into the black, to find that galaxy just two doors down and to the left.