Monday, December 17, 2012

Carry moonbeams home in a jar

Well, here we are on our quiet little island. I don't know if I've mentioned before why (or how) we are here. The answer: Frankie Starlight, the film made from my novel The Dork of Cork, which dropped into our laps more $$$ than we had seen before or hoped to see. Bought three-quarters of an acre of land on a long, pristine, mostly deserted beach and built a pretty little house open to the elements, away from the cold and snow. My main reason for coming here, however, was the sky –- open on every side, mostly free of clouds, and DARK. We called it Starlight House.

That was eighteen years ago. Even with the movie, we couldn't afford it now. Our seaside lot is probably now worth five or ten times what we paid for it. The beach is still mostly deserted, but the island has begun to light up. The zodiacal light has been obliterated by new illumination at our little airport. The northern horizon fades in the glow of the new Sandals resort. Still, Starlight House promises to keep us connected to the universe for the few more years we are able to enjoy it.

We were welcomed to the island by a thin crescent Moon, Jupiter resplendent in Taurus, and Venus blazing in the dawn. Haven't seen the green flash yet, but I'm on the lookout every sunrise. January promises a basket of celestial beauties, including a spectacular conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter on the 21st, which is during Tom's brief first visit. Just for you, Tom!

Meanwhile, the world lights up, and the universe vanishes behind a murky veil of our own making. Where it can still be seen, Saturn, in Libra, tips its hat, giving telescopic observers a view of its rings that will continue to improve for a few more years. My telescopic days are past, but on the terrace in the gathering dawn I know the planet is tipping its hat just for me and I nod in silent appreciation.