A few nights ago, our daughter and son-in-law, Ellie and Steve, and our three oldest granddaughters came for the evening to work on the renovation. Well, Ellie and Steve were working on the renovation. I was enjoying the girls downstairs, far from the noise of the hammer and drill. As the girls and I read some stories and ate some snacks, the sun set and the waxing moon and stars slowly appeared in the darkening sky. Taking a minute to look skyward, the nightscape took my breath away, it was just spectacular. There, framed outside the window, was the waxing crescent moon, just underneath gleamed Jupiter, and just below Jupiter, Venus glowed brightly. As beautiful as it was to look at with the naked eye, I knew that this would be an incredible night to look at this configuration with the little girls through the telescope.
Normally, this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but one of the worst parts of this cold has been the accompanying fatigue. The thought of getting the telescope down the stairs, out the door, and set up for viewing seemed overwhelming. I knew with every second I hesitated the planets were slowly dropping toward the horizon and would soon disappear for another night; if I was going to seize the moment I had to move quickly, and quick isn’t in my vocabulary this week. Would Ellie and Steve be willing to break away from the project (I know how irritating that can be) to make this moment happen? They were willing, and quickly dropped what they were doing, brought the telescope down and helped me set it up. Another spirit-lifter, another blessing I’ve come to appreciate over the years, is when “I” becomes “we” and everything becomes easier in the plural.
With the telescope focused on Jupiter I watched as Steve, Ellie, and each of my granddaughters took in the incredible sight of that shining planet and four of its beautiful moons. The oohing and ahhing, the “Wow, Grammie, that is incredible, that’s really awesome”, the “Let me look again” was all worth it. Jean joined us too, and of course I had to take a turn gazing through the view finder. We all loved Jupiter and its orbs, and Katie was amazed by her first telescope view of the moon and all its craters too. Another spirit-lifter, the enthusiastic, joyful amazement of a child learning, seeing, or experiencing something for the first time, another blessing I’ve come to appreciate over the years, when seeing something through the eyes of a child rejuvenates that same exuberance in me.
So despite the cold, fatigue, and renovating irritations, I’m feeling very blessed. I have incredible kids, willing to drop everything when asked, and while my view through the telescope was spectacular, it was nothing compared with the view through my grandchildren’s eyes; quite a spirit-lifter, and this week, those were some very special moments that mattered.
Author’s note: In case you would like to know more about current sky events and maybe plan some sky watching moments-that-matter of your own, here is a great website to help you in your planning.