Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stars in the Bahamas

Walking from the car to the house after a beautiful Christmas Eve celebration, I was fortunate enough to look up from the ground-focus to notice the stars. A clear night, after the relentless rain of the day had been swept away with a cool front, allowed the stars to shine; at least a few. Though my home seems very rural, nearby light sources have reduced the number of magical stars in my night sky. When they are revealed, it is a joy to see.

It reminds me of my delicious trip to the Bahamas on a barefoot cruise aboard a 54 foot sloop, the week after Christmas. Sounds very glamorous, but the boat was spartan, and the skipper had warned everyone that it was like camping in a boat. Not an inaccurate description. I was happy as a pig in mud.

The first night after leaving Miami was spent anchored off an uninhabited key with not a single light source in sight. I brought out the star chart I had purchased at home, with the lattitude and seasonal adjustments, that would allow us to find every constellation in the northern hemisphere. We gathered on the front deck with chart and flashlight. As twilight turned to darkenss, the stars emerged. Then more stars emerged. A flood of stars filled the sky, the sea of stars was so thick that there was no distinction possible that would allow a constellation to be determined or detected. The star chart was useless, the stars would not relinquish their mythological sky-writing to our eyes. We were left with a Bahama breeze, a blanket of stars, and good company. Guess that would have to do.

Peace on Earth

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