zolac_no_miko: (after twenty months at sea)
Today I got paid $16/hour and free dinner to drive a bunch of NYU students around in a van. And like, see the Gemini North telescope control room, and go up to Mauna Kea summit, which are things I would do for free.

And it was just. Perfect. To slowly climb the switchbacks while the sunlight turns golden high on the cinder cones, with the whole earth and a sea of clouds dropping away beneath us and Mauna Loa growing larger and impossibly larger to the south, and the peak of Hualalai erupting into view, then Haleakalā—"Look, there's Maui!" "Whaaaaaaat, no way!"—and pulling over at the top with the swollen, luminous full moon rising just above the limb of the summit cone in the east, and the observatories gleaming like jewels in the glory of the sun to the west, and the kids gasping at the view and laughing at the way the thin air makes their heads spin, and the sky going red and indigo, and Venus, then Jupiter, then Regulus igniting above the horizon, and driving down in the dark with the full moon too bright to look at, casting shadows and illuminating objects in color vision, the sea of clouds glowing nearly as bright, the sky black and starry and the hulk of Mauna Loa even blacker, and the smudge of glowing orange cast by Kīlauea's lava against the clouds. And parking at 9000 feet with the moon too too bright but still with so much hanging above us in the sky, the Big Dipper and Polaris, Scorpius about to devour Saturn, and taking them to see the silverswords gleaming ghostly alien in the moonlight, tall flowering stalks standing silent shadowed sentinels. All the kids lying on their backs, shouting in astonishment as meteor after meteor slash across the sky, Timo asking, "Well, it's getting late, should we go?" And one girl yelling, "Noooooooo, I'm going to live here, I want to stay on this mountain forever!!"

Yeah, girl. I know exactly how you feel.

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zolac_no_miko

June 2017

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