Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Starry Nights

Last night, I left the Med Student's house around midnight. As I walked to my car in the biting cold (really need to stop wearing flip flops!), I happened to look up at the dark sky. Unbelievable. It was so dark, the sky was crisp and clear and the stars were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

One thing about Tucson that has always annoyed me is the lack of street lights throughout the city, even on most main roads. Side streets are never lit and the lights on the few main roads are so dim that it's almost not worth spending the money on the electricity (in my humble opinion). Someone told me once that there is a light pollution ordinance within the city of Tucson because of the nearby space observatory in the desert. I suppose this makes sense, but since I'm not on the up and up in the astronomy world, I can't validate this observatory claim.

Regardless of why there are no streetlights in the city limits, it sure makes the night sky beautiful. I'd been away from Kenya long enough that the stark contrast between the glittering stars and the midnight blue sky took my breath away for a short minute.

It's moments alone like last night that make me feel so humble and insignificant. Those innumerable stars extending for infinity, the emptiness above me curving away from Earth, the utter depths of blackness. At times like last midnight, I remember that my life is just another life to be lived, one life of billions that have been lived, are living and will be lived. It's pretty astounding to me that for centuries, for millennia, other people have looked at that same sky and pondered.

What an awesome and breath-taking privilege it is to be human.

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