The Methodist Church Youth Group sponsored a fundraiser yesterday evening -- a pancake supper (yesterday was Fat Tuesday, after all). The church rec hall was packed with people enjoying their pancakes at tables, and on benches along the walls. Amy and I decided to carry our supper home (Dave stayed with Lachlan and other friends)...and along the way we invited a few other folks to join us.
Dave Frum was among those who brought their pancakes to my house. After eating we adjourned into the living room so we could sit around the fire and chat (the temperature was in the 40s outside). At a quarter past seven Dave reminded us that the space shuttle and the space station would be passing over us in just a few minutes.
Donning jackets and hats we walked into my front yard. Only a sliver of the moon...and a myriad of stars...greeted us. The night sky was simply spectacular. We marveled at the age of the universe...and the vast distances we could only barely imagine. Dave reminded us that some of the stars shining brightly above us had long since died out. We were literally looking into the past.
Just then Dave pointed up toward the north. "Here comes the shuttle." Sure enough a bright dot was moving swiftly above us, traveling at 17,000 mph. We stood transfixed. Two minutes later the space station came into view, following the shuttle. For a short while both the shuttle and the space station moved across the sky, then disappeared within the shadow of the earth.
It is all so marvelous...the universe itself, a mystery so deep we can only stand in awe...and the accomplishments of our species, an incredible feat so remarkable that we are able to contemplate and begin to explore the cosmos.
And what better place to contemplate the night sky than Ocracoke!
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of a 1911 wedding on Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022111.htm.