Presenting the Galileos

I’ve always had stars in my eyes. Not the Hollywood kind. The real deal. The twinkly kind. The starlight, star bright wish-upon kind. I find the night sky is a magical, mystical, magnificent stage filled with a vast array of brilliant actors delivering a dazzling show every night. The lights of Broadway dim in comparison, and it is, without a doubt, the longest running show, ever.

Sure, a few months back the solar eclipse was the hottest ticket in town. That sun! It’s such a showoff. Everything it does has to be bigger and brighter. Not to rain on its parade, but I would like to point out that while the sun got top billing, its big marquee event was brought to you courtesy of the moon, without which it would have been just another hot August day.

It saddens me that our cities’ lights have pulled the curtain on such a spectacular show, and a free one at that. I can remember as a kid gazing up into its black darkness dotted with a thousand tiny, twinkling lights as Dad pointed out constellations—Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Sirius. I remember, too, the thrill of spotting a shooting star blazing across the sky, and pointing and shouting, hoping others might catch a glimpse before it burned out.

Nowadays, or should I say, now-a-nights, I stare up at a pale gray, mostly blank canvas, feeling fortunate if I can discern the trio of stars that make up Orion’s belt buckle. There might be a planet or two visible somewhere nearby, and of course, there is the moon. Ah, yes, our lovely, leading lady, Luna, who whether waxing, waning or in full glory is always center stage. Sometimes she radiates a warm glow like a mother’s nurturing embrace, and at other times an icy aloofness that says she can’t be bothered. She is, beyond a doubt, a diva to be reckoned with.

Get far enough away from civilization and you can still find the original version playing at a theatre above you. Some people chase storms, we chase night skies. From deep in the heart of Texas, to the Arkansas mountain tops, to the red rocks of Arizona, the frozen tundra of Alaska, and beyond. Among our fondest memories was the double feature we attended that played in the skies above northern Minnesota’s wilderness. With temperatures dipping well below zero, my husband and I spread a blanket atop a snow-covered, frozen lake and laid down to watch the evening’s show. The main attraction that night starred a lonely comet, Hale-Bopp, making its solitary journey through the cosmos. The evening’s bonus act, at no extra charge, featured our leading lady in a peek-a-boo dance with the earth’s shadow. Her performance eclipsed all our expectations.

Comets, eclipses and shooting stars aren’t the only cosmic gifts the heavens have to share. Have you ever caught the amazing dancing act of the aurora borealis? These fanciful, colorful lights always deliver a breathtaking performance as they waltz across the sky, meandering and weaving with total abandon. They never fail to evoke the child within, eliciting squeals of joy and laughter at each unexpected dip and twirl. Unrestrained oohhs and aahhs emanate from spellbound, earthly spectators, young and old alike. It’s like watching a fireworks display with all the pzazz but none of the ear-shattering booms. What a show. What an amazing cast. What a night.

There are a lot of theatric awards presented each year. You have the Tonys, the Oscars, the Emmys. They even present the Daytime Emmys for soap opera dramas, but I think it’s about time that we recognize the real stars. Think how fun that would be. The awards could be called The Galileos. The red carpet would be a parade of truly, dazzling starlets, each out blinging the other. There would be real luminaries in the audience, and without a doubt, the whole thing would simply be out of this world. I can hear it now: “May I have the envelope, please…And the winner of this year’s Outstanding Production is…Night Sky.”