Saturday, October 02, 2004

And the sky full of stars

Just another brief "Wow!" moment from Hawaii. Last night is was made abundantly clear to me what it means to live in a place without the constant light pollution we live with on the mainland. We were driving home the long way from dinner in Kohola, which took us around a long dark windy road away from any towns or villages, and partway through while we were singing along to the various disco stations that seemed to be the only choices for late night listening I rolled down the window, stuck my head out like a dog, and looked up.


I have never seen so many stars, ever. The arm of the Milky Way was smudged out directly above us and stretched from horizon to horizon, one big glowing, pulsing band of white. Millions and millions of stars everywhere you looked (or didn't look, with that trick that the dim stars have of only being visible when you look a little above them.) It was truly amazing.

Of course we pulled over and stared for quite a while. I used to make a ceremony, when I was a kid, of laying on the front yard late at night in August, staring at the Milky Way through my dad's Navy binoculars and dreaming all sorts of things about who might be looking back, but what I saw then was never anything to compare to this. Sit yourself down in the middle of the Pacific with only a couple of small towns around and nothing else for a few thousand miles and it's quite a different story.

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