I was late getting home last night. I had been watching Lachlan while David was off-island and Amy was working at the Flying Melon. As I walked down Lawton Lane near midnight I stopped to look up into the heavens. The sky was cloudless and clear, and the view was spectacular. It seemed as if I could see tens of thousands of stars, although I know that the number of stars visible to the naked eye even from the darkest vantage point is probably no more than 4000 - 5000.
On the other hand, scientists estimate the number of stars within range of our telescopes as 70 sextillion. That's 70 thousand million million million, a number estimated to be 10 times greater than the number of sand grains on all of the world's beaches. It's simply beyond my ability to comprehend.
Even so, the night sky on Ocracoke, with the Milky Way clearly visible above me, and hundreds of other stars sprinkled about in the inky blackness of space, was awe-inspiring. I stood for many minutes just staring into the vault of heaven, contemplating what wonders lay so far beyond us. And then I caught sight of the dazzling display I hoped might mark the end of my reverie. A shooting star whizzed across the sky. I stood a moment longer, then opened the fence gate and went home.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the wreck of the Victoria S, and Ocracoke's first automobile accident. You can read it here.