Where Have You Gone, Mr. Moon?

As I have commented elsewhere, the first song that I can remember being my favorite song was the sentimental ballad “Somewhere Out There,” a duet that was part of the soundtrack for a movie I also greatly enjoyed as a kid (although I have not seen it for a long time), “An American Tail.” One of the comforting elements of that song was the sentiment that no matter how far apart two people are that they are sleeping under and looking into the same big sky. While we may be small in the face of the vast expanse of the heavens, that same distance also provides us with a common vista that can bring us together even if we are far apart, geographically speaking.

Admittedly, this is not strictly so in a limited sense. After all, those who are in the Northern Hemisphere, where I have spent the vast majority of my life, will tend to look out to a certain set of stars. I know that it is my own habit to try to find the big dipper and to orient myself towards the north pole when I look out into the heavens. Likewise, those in the Southern Hemisphere will look for constellations like the Southern Cross. In a limited sense, then, there are distances where people will not see the same night sky when they stare up into it. In a larger sense, though, the heavens are all around us and extent for a great distance, so much so that they surround us no matter where we are and no matter which part of them we can see from our own particular vantage point.

I remember one time watching the short film Powers of Ten, which included a look into the universe of the small made up of atoms and subatomic particles as well as the universe of the large, including planets and solar systems and galaxies and groups of galaxies, and being struck by the comforting feeling of there being both a larger and a smaller order that brought us together and connected all things in that great chain of being that exists from the smallest and lowest things to the most massive and highest things. If we inhabit a middle space along that great chain, we can appreciate the elements that tie us to what is within us and that which encompasses and surrounds us.

One of the great pleasures of the night sky is to stare up at the stars and to enjoy the sight of the moon, whenever possible. Admittedly, it is not always possible to see very much in the sky. I live in an area where frequently the heavens are obscured by clouds, and in many areas light pollution hinders our ability to see the stars in the sky and to recognize the multitude of solar systems that we can see with an unaided eye. To be sure, I enjoy telescopes as well, but far more often I have enjoyed seeing what could be seen with my own eyes. It may seem strange that one can feel more connected by looking at bodies of gas and rock that are far, far away from us, but so it has always been for me. Perhaps the same may be true for you as well.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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