Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I'm writing this on Tuesday morning (yesterday). The morning dawned crystal clear, after a week or so of rather cloudy weather. I stood on the terrace waiting for sunrise, my green flash vigil. Venus blazed in the southeast. The waning Moon, a fist-length above. And closing.

The Moon moves across the sky about 13 degrees a day, or about the width of a fat fist held at arm's length. That means that sometime between now and tomorrow morning (Wednesday) the Moon and Venus will make a sweet rendezvous.

Ah, the anticipation! Does that sound extreme? All day long the Moon will creep forward, almost invisible in the daylight sky, toward its hidden partner. Moon and planet will sink into the west before the Sun, having closed unseen most of the distance between them. Then they will rise before the Sun, a lovely pair in the morning sky, the Moon now closer to the Sun.

Will I see them? Will the sky in the southeast be clear?

I know it sounds silly, but the anticipation of so simple (yet so beautiful) a celestial event adds a frission to the day. Of such shivers is a life made.

Will the sky be clear? I think of lines from Robert Frost:
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud--
I'll let you know in the morning.

(Wednesday AM. A glorious and cloudless dawn, Venus rivaling the Moon in brightness! Of such shivers a life is made.)