Winter morning from January 14th, 2021. Click for full-sized image.
Hello, readers. Feels like it’s been a while, but it has only been a tad over a month. After the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, I have done no astronomy activities beyond a few glimpses of Orion when the weather permitted. This is truly the dead of Winter.
The current season as well as the state of political affairs have offered a lot of time for thinking. One of many questions I have pondered is what to do when (if) everything ever returns to normal? It’s a good question that sparks regret. For to ask the question of what you should do in the future is to, perhaps, insinuate what you should have done when you had the chance.
If there ever is a a true normal again (a real normal, not a fake “new normal”), I would like to plan my vacation time around travelling to dark sites across the United States. It’s been a long time since I was in such locations, even fractionally of what would consider to have a dark sky. Most such places are further out west. It will make for interesting road trips, to pack up my telescope and camera equipment, and see what I can find.
So here is hoping to better days ahead. I will try to keep my innate optimism up as much as possible. But I will admit, in the dead of this Winter, it’s been tough. 20 years ago, I felt there would come a day when the travel we took for granted would no longer be possible without government sanction. That day is here, or soon should be. Once upon a time, beyond your reasonable (real reasonable, not politically reasonable) obligations to your family, property, and work, there was nothing stopping you from getting in your car, driving in whatever direction you’d like, for as long as you wished, then turning around when you wanted to go home. In the near future, such a reckless disregard for planning, permits, and authorization could lead you into trouble, if the current trajectory does not change.
My greater worry is that what we take for granted today in regards to prosperity, opportunity, and decision privileges will be supplanted by the bureaucratic procedures of the emerging sudo-state. It has gained great power during the pandemic. If history is a guide, it will not give up that power by benevolent volition.
We shall see how the course of events unfold. I would like to start visiting dark sites this year, but if not this year, I will hope for 2022. If the pandemic continues, or is supplanted by a new crisis, I will plan for 2023, and continue planning and dreaming of those possibilities for the remainder of my days. For regardless of how bleak things may look at any given point, always know that the trajectory of history is never a straight line.