Friday 7 September 2007

Starry starry night

In the valley at night there were only a few scattered lights of human habitation, and if clouds didn't intervene the stars had the sky to themselves. Since then I've hardly even seen them so clear, they're everywhere drowned out by the spreading of humanity and its hunger for light at all times.

It was easy to take some interest in astronomy then. Was it Klinger who had a telescope, with which the moons of Jupiter could be seen?

At any rate we could walk under the stars to Beech House and South Bend and go to bed with their distant blessing. The effect was somehow more friendly and reassuring than Asimov imagined in 'Nightfall':

Thirty thousand mighty suns shone down in a soul-searing splendour that was more frighteningly cold in its awful indifference than the bitter wind that now shivered across the world. The bright walls of the universe were shattered and their awful black fragments were falling down to crush and squeeze and obliterate men.

1 comment:

Julian Williams said...

I remember those walks to South Bend under the bright starlit nights. We would start the walk with a role call and then walk in pairs to our dormitories. We pointed out the stars to each other and learnt the names of the constellations; The Milky Way, Orion, Sirus the dog star, Leo, Taurus, the Seven Sisters, Cassiopeia and the North Star and the Plough were all well known to us. Maybe it was Mr Flood who taught us the names of the constellations, I have never been able to look at a night sky without recognising the stars we learnt on those walks.