Sky is a Neighborhood is a Foo Fighters song heard on the Howard Stern show last week, Howard jamming it and singing its praises. "The sky is a neighborhood, heart is a storybook, a star burned out...Oh my dear Heaven is a big band now, Gotta get to sleep somehow (The sky is a neighborhood) Bangin' on the ceiling... Bangin' on the ceiling" I like the song and its cryptic, poetic title, as this piece needed a heading that harkens skyward. Always deeply contemplating (aka obsessing) on how to better the Higher Haven and offer visitors a singular, more sanctified experience, I had the idea recently to acquire a Telescope. The channel of thought ran this way: visitors could connect more directly with big, celestial movements happening overhead, movements that definitely effect our human lives, although the influence of many remain unaware. The HH's stretch of 20 acres is not an official Dark Park, however, the black blanket of night sky covering the place from dusk to dawn, aglow with brilliant, diamond-chipped stars, always inspires. Considering that star smattering is speckled with planets, there's a simple, beautiful aspect to the scientific, astronomical focus Up. But here, there's also an appreciation for the astrological aspect, an awareness and reverence for ancient sciences like Vedic astrology, informing us of patterns and periods as well as the challenges posed by different planetary periods; the planetary weather if you will. And whose plans don’t benefit a bit from checking the weather?
We also practice a form of Shamanism drawn from the indigenous people of the Americas, people of the plains who looked to the stars to help navigate their nomadic movements. I'm on the hunt for and hoping to gather a book buried deep in one of many basement boxes, the best source of Lakota Star Knowledge I’ve ever come across, acquired at Sinte Gleska (Spotted Tail) University on the Rosebud Reservation, circa 2001. Recounting how tribes synched their movements with that of the sun and the moon and stars, the guide helped establish my personal practice of modern day stargazing, a healthy acknowledgment of the cycles of the moon, the solstices, etc. Jiving with the sky, as the ancients realized, helps one live a less fractured life. And although a comfy home and a roof with central heat may cushion us from the rough, rocky edges of living in nature, the same Wakagna Luta, The Red Road of The Spirit World, aka The Milky way, looms above. This bright, starry path that called to our ancestors still calls to us today, perhaps calling to rise up and ascend to our True Home. There you have my long-winded, slightly dramatic explanation on the mindset behind expanding our night vision with setting up a Higher Haven Telescope. And because the Cosmos' vastness have been on my psyche’s radar, I wanted to share the following piece, written by Sky Scientist Carl Sagan. With a vein (vane?) or two of atheistic pessimism, this excerpt taken from Pale Blue Dot: A Vision for the Human Future in Space is quite profound in its grasp of the fragility as well as the majesty of life on Earth.
"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”