Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Venus, Jupiter, and a Low Crescent Moon at the Grocery Store

I made a quick run to Shoppers Food Hell tonight to grab my Allegra Rx before the pharmacy closed. One day without my Allegra and I'm a runny, puffy, sneezing disaster.

(And no one needs that.)

Walking out to my car with my drugs, a bag of Bartlett pears, wheat bread, and a half pound of Healthy Choice ham (c'mon - who are we fooling? When is HAM ever a "Healthy Choice"?!?!?), I stopped dead in my tracks. The sky was the most magnificent shade of deep, deep azure. It genuinely was the same color as the lapis lazuli ring I bought in Tulum two years ago.

And the sky was clear. No clouds. No city haze. The heavy suburban lights weren't obscuring the heavens. And, right in front of me, low on the Western sky, was this beautiful conjunction - two shining stars and the moon, showing a sliver of crescent that breathed just enough light to define the rest of the orb's outline. After a moment, I realized that one of the shining points had to be planet from the sheer vastness of it. The other I wasn't sure of. Could be a planet. Mars? The trio formed a long triangle, with the moon hanging low as if being dragged into the horizon line.

I must have just stared at it for a couple of minutes. It was surreal and simply beautiful.

"Gorgeous, isn't it?" I just about jumped out of my skin at the voice over my shoulder. There was a young Latino man standing next to me, wearing a bright orange Shoppers smock over his polo shirt. "That big one up there? That's Venus. And the small bright one is actually Jupiter. Just appears smaller from here on Earth. It was a lot more impressive over the weekend. Oh - and see that bright dot by Venus?" He pointed and I nodded. "That's Spica. It's the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. Neat, huh?" He smiled at me. "I get off shift in ten minutes. I hope there's still enough time for me to set up my telescope. Enjoy it! Have a good night!"

And with that, he headed back into the store. Thanks, science guy, whoever you are.

I went to Space.com and looked up the info. Pretty cool.

You never know what you will learn in the grocery store parking lot.

The weather is stunningly beautiful tonight, and the temperature is hovering in the upper 60's. Mighty fine sleepin' weather - I plan to be in bed in a few minutes. No blog surfing, no playing old Shockwave billiards and mini-golf games. I may read a couple of shorts from Ellery Queen, but that's it. Just me, the crickets, and a cool breeze.

Autumn is coming. My favorite season. My new year.

Bring it on.


Sasquatch said...

Bring on autumn, indeed. Sweater weather, here I come...

Anonymous said...

OMG, Merujo, I had a very similar experience tonight. School starts out here tomorrow, and well, since all the stores were so amazingly overstocked with school supplies the other day it never occured to me that I'd better grab 'em while they lasted. I thought I'd pick up the last couple things tonight after dinner. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. Fuck it Bwahahahaha!

I dragged two kids through three stores looking for 4 24-crayon boxes of CRAYOLA (had to be crayola the little handout said) crayons, 12 #2 pencils, and 3 large pink erasers. Sold out. Sold out. Finally got a few things.

As we headed back to the car, my daughter calls out "Look! Brand new baby moon! And look at that bright star by it!" I looked up, and, as you mentioned, the sky was intoxicatingly beautiful, and that little slip of a moon was beyond perfect.

I am SO thrilled to know it was just as pretty on the other coast.

suze said...

how amazing. we saw some gorgeous northern lights over the weekend up at the lake.

and how great is it that a perfect stranger would share that knowledge with you. thanks science guy indeed :)