When I was a kid, my grandparents lived across the street from the golf course. On clear nights, my grandfather would walk us across the street and through the woods with flashlights and we’d lay on the grass and watch the stars. He’d bring his telescope and it was the closest thing to magic that I had ever seen. There are so many memories of my grandfather that make me a little teary, but the ones at the golf course are some of my favorites.
I grew up in a small town, far away from any city lights. My kids are growing up in the heart of Worcester, and have a very different experience with the night sky. There is no convenient golf course, and when we go outside, you can see some stars. Really bright ones, but the night sky of my childhood is not the sky of theirs. That makes me sad. I know that the world has changed, and that the night sky is changing all over the world. Recently I read this book, and it assuaged my guilt, somewhat, over moving my kids to a city where they can’t really see the stars. Turns out it’s not entirely my fault, it’s harder all over the place to really SEE the night sky the way we could thirty years ago.
All that being said – we went stargazing last night. Fortunately, even though we are living in the city, Worcester is surrounded by a whole lot of towns that are nowhere near as brightly lit. Our problem was really much more about the supermoon than any city lights. It was simply so big and so incredibly bright, it dominated the whole sky. We drove about ten minutes out, to a quiet little road with no street lights. The city lights were mostly blocked by Airport Hill. We got the kids ready for bed, teeth brushed and brought pillows and blankets and laid out and watched the sky.
It was the same magic last night that I felt thirty years ago with my grandfather. My kids were so hushed and in awe, we saw shooting stars streaking across the night sky, and Sam made up his own constellations. Jessie snuggled up next to me, and Julie discovered (again) how much she loved standing on top of the car and jumping into Marc’s arms.