Yet again, the teachers at my sons’ school blew me away. Last week, three of them spent their evening not at home but at school on the playground, surrounded by scads of students and parents, leading a night of stargazing. They’d set up two telescopes, one pointing at the moon, the other at Saturn. Wow, to see the rings in real life rather than in photos in books! The Halversons couldn’t resist contributing our own telescope, which my parents gave us a few years ago. Finally, a reason to learn how to use it! Alas, we’d forgotten to check one major bolt and hadn’t brought along any tightening tools, so our telescope sagged instead of pointing heavenward. That didn’t stop game students who held it steady for their friends and family, giving everyone an extra option for viewing the moon.
But best of all had to be the fact that we were able to extend that night of stargazing with teachers: We set up our telescope on the sidewalk last night (all bolts tightened!) and invited several neighboring households to join us. That will go down as one of my favorite nights in this neighborhood. As we adults kept taking turns and marveling at what was above (this time adding Venus to the menu), the little kids turned their attention downward to slug-gazing, using their flashlights to study slugs and ants out foraging in the cooler night temps.
What a night. A little bit of looking up, a little bit of looking down, and a lot of looking eye to eye at neighbors who too often these busy days just pull into garages after a long day and stay inside to catch up with family. Perhaps it’s imagination, but I think the neighborly waving between driveways was more hearty this afternoon than yesterday.