A Comet of Errors
Alice recently posted this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr for her Daily Dose: "Only in the darkness can you see the stars." It didn't work! 🤣 I should clarify: We were able to see the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars (maybe even Neptune), but our attempts at seeing the recently discovered comet, Neowise, were unsuccessful.
As directed by a reliable website, we waited 1 1/2 hours after sunset and drove to an empty parking lot. Through our binoculars, we had a few false sightings. Then the mosquitoes had true sightings and tastings of me. To move away from them, I accidentally walked into a mound of fire ants and still have the bumps to show. Finally, the sprinklers came on and doused me. Okay, it was time to move on from there. Back in our neighborhood, there were too many trees to get a confirmable sighting, despite a handy iPhone app. We tried over the next several evenings, but clouds obscured the night sky. Sometimes, merely desire and good intention are not enough.
In the 1300s, a German Dominican named Heinrich Suso wrote: "In the first days of my youth I tried to find it in the creatures, as I saw others do; but the more I sought, the less I found it, and the nearer I went to it, the further off it was. For of every image that appeared to me, before I had fully tested it, or abandoned myself to peace in it, an inner voice said to me: "'This is not what thou seekest.'"
Back to 2020, despite the bites and bother, perhaps the searching is enough, just as they say the journey-ing is the destination. No one alive now will have the chance to see Neowise again- it will not be visible for another 7,000 years. But just knowing that this celestial visitor skirted our planet and that a lot of people saw it is itself a wonder and a gift.
It would have been fun and satisfying to have seen it ourselves, but we joy in continuing to seek.