Friday, June 14, 2013

From my Journal: Enhanced Night Vision

It is late. At the end of the dock I sit and shut off my flashlight. One by one the stars present themselves on a moonless summer night, my eyes growing accustomed to the darkness.

First I spot the biggies: the seven stars of the Big Dipper, and, trailing the arc of its handle, the astonishingly bright Arcturus in the constellation Bootes; to the south, red Antares, the heart of the Scorpion; directly overhead, the asterism of the Summer Triangle – Vega in Lyra, Altair in Aquila the Eagle, and Deneb in Cygnus the Swan. Within moments it seems these pinpoints of light no longer present themselves one by one but a hundred by a hundred: Draco the Dragon; Sagittarius the Waterbearer and a coincidently nearby Jupiter; the body detail of Ursa Major, the Big Bear, in which the Big Dipper lies; the asterisms Northern Crown and Northern Cross; even the dim and diminutive dolphin Delphinus. I begin to see satellites, coursing usually northerly, some so dim they can only be seen with averted vision against a seemingly motionless backdrop. Finally comes what I have been hoping for, the crowning joy of the night sky, the test of what constitutes, for me, a truly good night of seeing: the 
Milky Way begins to slowly 'reverse fade' into view;
The Big Dipper in the
constellation Ursa Major
eventually I see it spanning the length of the sky from 
horizon to horizon, from north of Queen Cassiopeia 
to horizon’s end south of the Teapot.

All the stars were showing immediately when I shut the light off several minutes ago, but I could not see them. It is my eyes that needed adjustment. My pupils had contracted indoors to protect my eye’s sensitive rods from light’s intensity. And now as they 
dilate in the dark, they gather dimmer light as a larger telescope would, and I am able to see clearly things formerly not visible just moments ago. It seemed near pitch black blindness when the flashlight went out, but as my eyes have adjusted to the darkness I sense enough light to not only move around the dock without falling in, but to leave the light in my pocket and take a walk, or push out over black water for a midnight paddle.

The light shines in the
darkness, and the darkness
has not overcome it.
(John 1:5)

There is light in my darkness. My night vision has been enhanced.

Lord, with darkness all around how I need enhanced night vision, a different kind than that I experience sitting here at the end of a dock.

Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for to you darkness is as the light. (Psalm 139:12)

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

~~RGM, from an earlier  journal entry,
Adapted for Blog June 11, 2013

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