(Ed's note: It is past 1 am local time. This post may prove to be as useful as trying to explain a dream to someone. We'll see in the morning.)
As a kid, Boxing Day meant traveling to the eastern part of the Island to visit relatives. Often, on the drive back from 'down east', I would look up at the night sky, full of stars. I appreciated them but never took the time to learn the constellations.
As I have lamented in the past, I had no idea how lucky I was, from an astronomical perspective: very little light pollution and a clean atmosphere.
Tonight, I was Down East, driving from Murray Harbor to home in Cornwall. Throughout the evening, I noticed the sky but on my way home, circa 11:30 pm, I pulled over on a long, dark, and desolate road outside of Montague.
The night air was still: crisp but not freezing. It was eeriely quiet. A full moon shone down like a photo-negative sun. And the stars were still there, as though I had never left. Dozens, in every direction. Big easies like Orion and the Dippers. Formations that were surely something but more difficult -- Cassiopia? And a myriad number of little anonymous clusters. Bright, dim, crisp, blurry.
The last time I lived on The Island was 1991. These stars, this view, was now both exotic, foreign, and yet familiar. In the north, the night sky has infinite patience: it greets the prodigal sons and daughters with unconditional, timeless beauty. No questions asked.
It is the sons and daughters who ask the questions.
ps. I drove through Charlottetown via University Avenue, just like old times. And partly to spite both progress and readers of this blog.