Staring at the Night Sky

After the sun has set and the wind has slowed to a gentle breeze, I like to sit in the ballpark across the street and stare at the night sky. This is generally during Nozomi's evening walk and, because she's completely occupied with whatever might be on the ground, our attentions diverge. Every so often, though, she'll come sit next to me and ask for a little head massage while I ask her questions she can't possibly answer … verbally. This was certainly the case tonight after a small meteor or decommissioned satellite plummeted through the upper atmosphere and was obliterated with a colourful display of atmospheric friction at work.

Night Sky

"Do you ever just stare at the sky?" I asked her. Considering that Nozomi is a dog, I already knew both the answer and that she could not reply. It would be interesting to discover that a non-primate mammal on this planet, though. What would they think of the stars in the sky? Would they see shapes and create their own constellations? Would they perceive the points of light as spirits of ancestors looking down to provide guidance? Would they just look at the sky like we do a TV and enjoy the view for what it is?

When I was young, I imagined flying to the stars like the characters of Star Trek. Powerful starships would ferry people to and fro, exploring the wonders of the galaxy while also lending a hand where necessary. This isn't something that I will have the opportunity to do in my lifetime, but our descendants may have a chance in the coming generations as our technology continues to improve and the yearning to wade into uncharted territory compels people to take great risks for an opportunity of even greater rewards. Fortunately there is nothing stopping us from using a little imagination from time to time.

The stars have fascinated me for as long as I can remember and the local neighbourhood seems oddly suited for stargazing. Light pollution from the nearby cities does obscure a great deal of the spectacle above, but there are more distant points of light visible from here than most other places in the country that I've stayed. That said, the country tends to dim after 1:00am as many street lights, amusement centres, and other sources of light shut down until the morning. On the rare occasion where I've stepped outside the house in the middle of the night, the majestic sky is so captivating that it's hard to look away.