So fellow travelers, once in a while I get text alerts from NASA letting me know the International Space Station will be visible as it passes over my location.
Photo credit: Society for Popular Astronomy
Ever since my first sighting a few years ago, I get a thrill from spotting this brilliant white speck as it zooms across the sky. Part of this is the challenge of navigating the directions to pinpoint the ISS location, part of it is sheer amazement at the accomplishment of sending and keeping something so substantial in orbit and a good measure of it is realizing as I look up there are fellow humans zooming along in that white beacon so far away. How lucky they are gazing down at our home planet below as they do all sorts of fascinating scientific stuff. For a few minutes, I feel like I am part of the grand adventure.
This sense of wonder is so uplifting I have been known to rise hours earlier than my usual wake-up time for the chance to see the ISS. Of course, living near Syracuse, NY, which ranks in the top three on the list of cloudiest cities, there is never a guarantee of clear skies, so any sighting truly is a gift.
Earlier this week, luck graced my choice to rise early. A star studded crystal clear sky greeted me when I stepped out on to our deck. Steam rose from my coffee mug as I scanned the familiar icons.
The vshaped “head” of Taurus, seven glittering sister stars of the Pleides cluster riding on his back, Sirius and Procyon the dog stars resting at the feet of their Master Orion. The atmosphere was so clear, I caught a rare (at least for me) sight of Orion’s sword, a string of tiny stars dangling from the line of brighter more easily sighted stars in his belt.
These are constellations which reign the night skies in Winter. The reminder sent a chill through me but I smiled warmed by the thought that Orion connects me to some good people I once described* as “old friends who’ve just met.”
I’ll be seeing some of those friends soon. True friendships unaltered by a futile battle of words intended to create division by doubt, forged like steel by trust which shines as constant as the stars.
Then zooming over the tree line to the west, the bright white dot of the ISS shot into view. I tracked it’s long graceful arc through the stars already beginning to fade in the predawn light. It left me these words
I’ll catch his stars with my heart
Friendship’s beacon calls
Photo Credit: gatewaytotheuniverse.org
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.
*Postscript: “Old friends who’ve just met” are words from a post written just three years ago; that it feels more like three decades speaks to the level of upheaval wrought as a friends struggled to separate from toxic leadership within a creative collective. A significant number of the original members split off into a separate community. It has been nearly two years since the first fractures formed, yet periodically the shock waves of those events still reverberate through both communities, fueled largely by anyone still harboring anger and resentment. Fear and doubt can be powerful challenges to communal ties if left unaddressed. The admins of the newer community are reasonably adept at fostering an open dialogue to address issues when they come up. Not everyone can tolerate the intensity of emotional discussion; some friendships have disintegrated. I am grateful the ones that matter most to me have weathered the storms.