<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> 200 miles back in time


200 Miles Back in Time


1975                              2010

A telescope is a time machine of sorts. with it you can see light that was created millions of years ago. It's true. With it we peer out of the milky way galaxy and at other galaxies - some of which shed that light millions of years ago. We don't see the galaxy as it is right now in time. We see it as it was at that point - millions of years ago.

And it is with this thought in mind. With a telescope near my eye that I peer, the same way, at myself.

I was young. Somewhere in my early teens, maybe 13 when I was bitten by the astronomy and telescope passion. It consumed me and I don't recall how it started. Probably a random encounter with a book at the public library. I remember many such encounters but not the telescope one.

From that time I read everything I could about telescopes. There seemed to be a philosophical and spiritual thing about them. Staring at the stars was meditative and beautiful. The beauty and mystery enthralled me.

I borrowed my dad's binoculars and that gave me much joy and wonder. Then for christmas I got a small telescope and that gave me more joy in discovery.

And the next christmas, my parents seeing this was a true passion for me. Sat me down and talked to me about getting a real telescope. They needed my advice on which one they should get -Which they did, and my grandmother even chipped in for it. I was stunned. This was a real telescope that was made at the factory and had to be shipped in a crate.

In my voluminous reading I discovered a place called Stellafane. It is an amateur telescope making club in vermont (200 miles away) and it is the premiere place in the world for amateur telescope makers to meet, use, and show off their telescopes. And... every year they have a convention.

Well, 200 miles is just too far for me to ride my bike. Although I seriously considered the challenge. But I made a promise to myself that I would go when I was an adult.

Here it is, 35 Years later, and I just came back from this years convention.

It was during the long drive through massachusetts and vermont that I really gave thought to that young boy that I was, and the man that I am now. And the whole experience there at stellafane was a meditative thing. The joy I sometimes felt was overwhelming.

If you make a promise to yourself - keep it.

What is this mystery of a life? What is this thing that I am? Am I the same person that I was? Or am I different? In another 35 years will I be able to look back on now? Or will a telescope be needed to see the light that I left behind?