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But wait, there's more.
There's just no polite way to say "Buy me things", is there?
Need a band name?
rant is where the heart is
entry for 2001-11-18 (03:49:00)
In which our plucky young hero looks up.
Isn't it funny how any sort of progress we make is just more proof of our ruin?
We defang the cold by making it possible to heat homes in the coldest of winters and we call it a greenhouse effect.
We make where our friends are be everywhere and we talk about the dehumanizing effects of the Internet.
We take fear out of the night by putting bright lights on every street corner and we call it light pollution.
Tonight, though, I see where the words light pollution come from. Tonight I knew that the Leonid meteor shower would be happening, and more than that I knew I would have no chance whatsoever of seeing it. Just outside my building is one of the city's major roads; all of the apartments on this block are well-lit; there are streetlights on every corner. I could see all of the poorly-maintained sidewalks and boxlike housing units I wanted, but not a single star. Light pollution.
I tried anyway.
I slipped on a pair of sandals, threw on my long black coat, and stepped outside into air already chilled to -3 Celsius. I walked out into the street, putting myself as far away as I could from any streetlights. And I looked up.
At first I knew I had failed. At first there was a cloak of black across the entire sky, the exact thing that mankind had been fighting against since the first time a tribal fire was made at night. And then my eyes adjusted.
I've got poor eyesight, and it was still bright at ground level, no matter what. But I saw stars. I looked up at those stars, the universe's old memoirs. I could see! I could see the sky! As I whirled around and faced the other way, my pattern-matching systems kicked in. Three stars. Row. Two stars on top. Two below. Orion! (Ask 99% of people to name a constellation and they will say the Big Dipper. I'm in the 0.9% that says Orion. And I fear the 0.1% who mention Ursa Minor, or Cassiopeia.)
I could see Orion, in the middle of a light-polluted city! I turned around in glee, wishing I could shout to--
what was that streak?
--shout to the heavens and have them hear that--
I'm seeing the Leonids, even here!
I knew that I would not get a good show, but mere seconds ago I'd known that I'd get a pitch-black sky in which nothing was visible.
I turned around, to say my farewells to Orion, and a third streak came through his shoulder. It was enough. I have seen the Leonids where I feared to see the void, and I can sleep now.
When you expect nothing, everything is a victory.(Browse: previous or next. Notes: post or read.)
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