INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
An opening in overcast skies provides a wonder...
Jim proves to be an observant man but sometimes oblivious in his deductions. He was confident on Harry's return. I had my doubts. Even so, not much was missed by his gaze; he would pride himself on his good judge of character. He would speculate that I would abhor the lonely life and be married with the first girl “looking my way”.
“Nah!” I would reply to him. I knew that for me any courtship I may entertain would be a lengthy one. But he on the other hand… I rebutted “I think you are projecting here. YOU will be the first one to fall for fawn eyes and demure coquettishness.”
The gauntlet was drawn, each so sure in their assessment that we ended the dispute with a bet. The first to fall to Eros’ lure, marriage being the deciding factor, would lose $500 to the other. And with a quick contract drawn on a scrap of newspaper the matter to be settled, I was certain, as soon as we left here.
The subject not broached again but over the coming days we would chide each other on how our $500 prize would be spent.
“Cheap liquor and hard women! Or is it the other way around? Ah, what do you care you’ll be forever shackled.” Guffaw!
We continued talking well after our meal of Jim’s stew.
I stepped out of the igloo to relieve myself, chucking with Jim’s assessment of my bachelorhood fresh in mind when I notice my breath misting into the cool air.
Wait up. I can see my breath.
I look up and to my surprise we have a clear night. No moon but a dome full of stars. So many of them, their sparkle sharpened by the thin cold atmosphere and that their brilliance elicits vertigo. Abundantly so that I cannot recognize my standard stars.
At this latitude my familiar Orion is dipped chest high in the southern horizon. In my light polluted Chicago area he is usually higher in the sky and one of a few visible. In Mexico he is even higher where one can recognize the Andromeda galaxy at its hip. Here I barely realized that the bright start in to its right was Aldebaran. Let alone Jupiter paired up alongside it. And further along the lowered ecliptic towards the west I find Mars prepares to set. I was confused and thought these planets further up the plane that I’ve mistaken the Gemini stars Castor and Pollux to be them.
Overhead Ursa Minor spins on the unmoving Polaris pin through the night like a hanging pot on a nail
Unfortunately at this time of year the misty lights of the Milky Way are on the other side of the world, our skies looking away from our galactic center. Not to be seen until the spring evenings. But even without that shine tonight starlight alone casts such a dim light that I can see my night terrain. Everything from the wind swept grass to the cliff sides to our north and south.
I have watched Sagan’s Cosmos and understood his concept of astronomy but I was not aware that when he tried to portray the billions and billions of stars out there (a phrase he is credited for but never really uttered) I was sure that they were not visible from anywhere on earth, until this moment.
I am mesmerized as the beauty and a lifelong affair with the sky is born this moment.
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About the Author
I have always ended up in unexpected places. So I present a collection of my tales told over the years. Places that due to circumstances I might never go on my own accord.