Dear John Cougar, I Get It Now. Really. Love, Jeff

I didn’t see the constellation Orion. But I felt a sense of profound relief that I came of age just after the Friday Night/Heavy Metal/Laser/Astronomy at the Observatory thing.

Seriously, There was a point on the return leg of the road trip that found me absolutely mesmerized. I had to ease the Hoopty off the the side of Highway 46, sit out on the front fender, and look up at the stars. I’m willing to risk that sounding a little bit trite, but seriously, it had been a long time. It was a clear night, with great visibility and no glare save from a dimly lit A-frame farmhouse about a half a mile downhill.

And I try not be cavalier about the word “awe,” but there are times when it just fits. I sat there dumbstruck for what had to be a half an hour, staring blankly into a sky that just teemed with life. I didn’t see the space station, but I found the Big Dipper, the North Star, and this faint streak of powdery white that I knew wasn’t a cloud, but I think was the outer arm of the galaxy. I think this image was seared into my mind as the most compelling visual of 2009.

Yeah, I need to get out of the city more often.


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