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Looking up

Everyone knows life has its ups and downs. Well, except for some folks who aren’t right somehow. Perpetual happiness isn’t normal. I think it’s a little creepy. But look at me, talking about right minds. Aren’t I just adorable?

I’ve been down. Hell, I’ve been riding the trench so long I can barely remember what the plateau looks like. Does the grass grow lush and green up there? Maybe it’s not so great after all. I really don’t like yard work.

Tonight’s an up night. The weather has cooled. It’s not much, but enough to notice a difference. It’s enough to be comfortable outside when the sun isn’t up. Hell, it’s seven o’clock and my thermometer says it’s 80F. Eighty, where have you been all my life? There’s a breeze no less. This outdoor, front porch post is brought to you by eighty – the makers of a relieved soul.

About a month ago some friends of Cheryl gave us a telescope. It isn’t huge. It isn’t motorized and it doesn’t have a computer guidance system. It’s a 60mm refractor. What makes it a gift from the Gods is the light it collects compared to my little, 30 year old reflector that’s a toy by comparison. Squint your eyes, use a little imagination, and you can just barely make out the rings of Saturn on my old telescope.

Saturn isn’t out right now, but you may have heard Earth is at its closest point to Jupiter on its leisurely, annual lap around the sun (or it was late last month).

It was still pretty darn close a week or two ago when I hurried Beth out to the back yard to watch the eastern sky. The brightest star in the sky wasn’t a star at all. It was Jupiter. The light captured from moons of Jupiter with our new telescope was spectacular. We shared an astronomy moment, awed by an image seen much clearer in too many magazines to count. We could make out bands around the magnified point in the sky, revealed as the relatively near object it really is, and looked upon the clouds of Jupiter.

An otherwise mundane Monday was transformed into an event we’ll share forever.

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