Thursday, August 16, 2012

A STARLESS NIGHT


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By Brendan O'Connor

The first thing I noticed when I moved to Orlando wasn't what most people would expect. It wasn't the tourist traffic, however annoying that can be, or the ever present iconic Florida palm trees (that aren't native), it was the almost complete absence of stars in the night sky. I grew up along the north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario Canada in a somewhat storybook pastoral setting. I was 40 minutes from the nearest town, and houses were more like moth-eaten holes chewed into a thick sheet of wilderness, rather than like the quilted blankets of manicured lawns and asphalt in the city. I've got a trunk-load of memories of my family looking dumbstruck at some heavenly body (not Channing Tatum) up over our heads. The Milky Way, the Big Bear and when we were lucky the Northern Lights would prance above our heads like some sort of intergalactic Bonnaroo.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm too stupid to understand the point of this article.

Thanks, Valencia CC.

Milton DeGrote said...

There are other ways to connect with nature here. I felt much of the same ennui and disappointment when I moved from here temporarily to silicon valley. It barely rains, there's very little greenery and no thunderstorms. It took me a bit to realize just how much I missed the nature to which I had become accustomed here in Florida.

I hope you can find the same for yourself. The starscape can be humbling, but so can the beach. The awesome power of the moon to create tides and the inconceivable size of the ocean. Nature is here to see, you need only seek it out. Our tininess on Earth itself is enough to remind us of our relative importance.

Brendan said...

You're completely right Milton; the beach, a walk in a cypress dome, a pontoon on the St. Johns, are all different ways to meditate on the vastness of nature... but they're all things you need to seek out, whereas in other places the night sky is something you can't escape.

But I'm totally with you.

Anonymous said...

Um, the sabal palmetto palm tree is not only native to florida, but is also the state tree. Don't let that get in the way of your pontificating, though...

Brendan said...

haha it won't.
Thanks for the heads up.

Scottie Campbell said...

Why is The Daily City still accepting anonymous posts?

Anonymous said...

Chiefland and the Kissimmee Praire Preserve are two of the best areas in the state to stargaze, and they are both near Central Florida. The Dark Sky Festival is also held in Central Florida every year if you want to see the night sky.

Anonymous said...

Scottie, if I leave my real name, I will get yelled at by the Big Guy. I have specific orders to remain anonymous or die.