The Old Astronomer

Into the warm evening air we came a group of Arizona teenagers hushed nervous laughter leaves and grass crushing beneath our feet. The old man with tremulous finger drew our gaze to the sky delicately aglow from the sun's past hour descent. And he named them. What were they? Betelgeuse Orion Cassiopeia perhaps? And inside the quiet dome squat and solid against the sky we put our eyes to the lens. And as our eye drew nearer and nearer a luminous orb danced from side to side squirting like a lighted drop of fluid until it and our eye came to rest. And then it hung there silently full of pale living light in the endless distance of space. Was it Venus perhaps? Alone and lovely that we gazed upon? What did we know what did we care what this distant opalescent sphere meant to that old man that very old man who had spent a lifetime on nights such as this.

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