Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Open door evenings

We had some hot and sticky days recently, with the humid warmth continuing into the evening. We don’t have air conditioning yet, so we open doors and windows to let the (warm, humid) air move. When there’s a breeze, this can provide some relief. When there isn’t, fans help. Neither removes humidity from the air, of course.

This can be noisy as neighbours and their dogs make ordinary living noises. Nothing to complain about, nor to take much notice of, because we make noise, too.

But leaving the doors open into the evening also means Saibh (our dog) wanders in and out. One night last week, she wandered outside around 10pm or so. Neighbourhood cats (not including ours) had gathered nearby, and their discussions were starting to get loud and heated. Saibh started barking, so I went out to get her. She was stubborn. So, I picked her up to carry her into the house.

On the way back, I looked up: The skies were ablaze with stars. It amazed me the first time I saw so many stars in Auckland’s night skies. In Chicago, stars were always invisible, due to light pollution. The stars are even more amazing out in the New Zealand countryside, but to me, even Auckland’s clear night displays are breathtaking.

I scanned the skies, as I always do, looking for the Southern Hemisphere’s Southern Cross constellation. It’s depicted on a number of national flags, including both Australia and New Zealand. The Aussie flag has a more accurate depiction, though neither flag has all the stars: It’s now known to have eight, only about five of which people can see.

It’s nice to know that with political fights, wars, and so much more going on, something as simple as a star-filled night sky can stop me in my tracks. I wish others could experience the same. Sometimes it’s the ordinary that’s truly extraordinary.

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