Monday, September 12, 2011


I had a telescope when I was a kid. Got it for Christmas, after a year of serious begging. It was great. I remember setting it up in the living room so I could catch a view of the moon rising over the back yard through the picture window (it was freaking cold outside, you see).

I must have stared at that moon for hours, moving the telescope occasionally to keep up with its movement through the sky, counting craters and watching the edge of the moon wriggle as its light came down to me through the atmosphere and that picture window glass.

Then I put the thing away and, as I recall, never got it out again. Ungrateful little kid that I was.

Now I have a son about that age, and for his birthday this year, we got him a telescope. We’ve had it out several times. Just this weekend we trained it on the moon and counted craters, watched as clouds drifted between us and that shining orb and lamented that I skimped and didn’t buy that moon filter to reduce the eyestrain.

But we got it out several times this year. And the year’s not over yet.

Enthusiasm. Maybe that’s all it takes.

Dad didn’t do this kind of stuff with me. Not that it matters – we did lots of other kinds of stuff together. But getting out that telescope with Liam and looking at the moon through it – and reminding myself that we’re looking at a flipped image; that explains why Crater Tycho was on the top right quadrant of the moon, rather than the lower left – was fun. We did it together. We were both excited.

Excitement is kinda like nuclear criticality – you need a lot of it to keep things going.

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