If you don’t know what a bucket list is, then you probably are not very old, as it is a list of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket (die)! This last Friday (July 25th) I was able to cross off an item on my list which read “View Milky Way galaxy as I had as a youngster growing up in west Texas”!
My very good friend James Pickering and his 4 year old daughter Lilly and I drove to Fort Griffin State Park which is 15 miles north of Albany. Don’t know where Albany, Texas and Fort Griffin are – well, there out in the middle of nowhere which is why we chose this location. If you go to “dark-sky sites:Texas” you’ll see that where we went is listed as one of the sixth darkest sites in the state. I have lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex since 1968 and like most of you, have grown used to the light pollution that severely limits our ability to view the wonders of out night sky.
Before sundown, we set up James’ new 8-inch Celestron telescope, and although we viewed several items with it (Saturn with its rings and moons, Mars, etc.), as the night got darker we spent most of our time racked back in lawn chairs just looking up! WOW! DOUBLE WOW! The sky was magnificent – a black bowl with millions of bright pinpoints of light! Part of the Milky Way is composed of stellar dust and light from stars beyond this dust and it was there too! We were also privileged to see a shooting star and several satellites as they raced across the sky.
Lilly asked her dad and I why we were looking up and making so many comments about what we were seeing. I told Lilly that we looking at something that God, in his love for us, created just for us!
I want to add that another benefit of this location was the QUIETNESS – something that we seldom get to experience in our lives today.
I got in bed about 3:00 A. M. Saturday morning, but even though I was very tired, I couldn’t go to sleep for quite a while. I believe that it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “You can look down and not believe in God, but you can’t look up and not believe in Him”! FIND A DARK PLACE AND LOOK UP!!