The Consolation of Nature

It was one of those bad nights. I suppose most of us experience them from time to time. When sleep doesn’t come easily and you lie awake in the small hours turning things over in your mind. In my case worrying about family issues, the effects of Covid and Brexit on our business; feeling I need a holiday yet knowing with Covid restrictions I can’t have one; wondering whether I am taking too much on my shoulders with ELTFootprintUK. So, unable to sleep, I decide to get up early, 6am, still dark outside and take a walk. A cold morning with a crystal clear starlit sky and the first really hard frost of the season on the cars. I’m lucky that where I live I can step straight out into the countryside and I soon find myself in a dark spot where I can view the sky properly. The River Isbourne – really not much more than a stream – gurgles away quietly nearby and as I look around I can feel my cares dropping away. There is Orion’s belt on the horizon; The Plough (Ursa Major) right overhead; and Venus rising, shining brightly in the East. I watch a couple of satellites move across the sky in unison and wonder if I have caught my first glimpse of SpaceX. I think about strange people like Elon Musk who put it there, how they must somehow manage to see the bigger picture to make their dreams come true; and yet how they still get caught up in the petty squabbles and jealousies of earth. It gives you a sense of perspective, the night sky. You can feel at once insignificant and at the same time totally alive in the consciousness of observing it. And though not a religious person, I have to ask the philosophical question that, when humans sooner or later leave this earth, who or what will be left to observe the glory and beauty of the night sky? And so back home for a cup of warming tea, feeling fortified for another day of work.