Sunday, April 07, 2002

The cold front that brought yesterday's snow left clear skies last night on it's way passing through. My older son, James, and I took the telescope out for some star-gazing. While neighbors with floodlights are creeping closer, we still have skies with as many stars as I remember from street-light free days as a child. Standing there in the cold looking up, I was reminded of the protagonist in a poem by Robert Frost who

. . . mingled reckless talk
Of heavenly stars with hugger-mugger farming,
Till having failed at hugger-mugger farming,
He burned his house down for the fire insurance
And spent the proceeds on a telescope
To satisfy a life-long curiosity
About our place among the infinities (The Star-Splitter)

Our own telescope came as a gift, saving me from any similar temptation. Though with the year's farm records off to the tax preparer, I know a little of how Frost's character felt. So much work; some done well, some done badly and certainly not done for the money. It makes a man wonder about the larger picture. Despite having a good telescope and a clear night, I cannot say I satisfied my curiosity about our place among the infinities. For that I look to faith, and sometimes, art. What the telescope does show, is that we do live among infinities, and that they can be beautiful. Even for a lawyer and "hugger-mugger" farmer.