I looked for it without much hope. My patio has a wonderful view of the San Francisco skyline and the peninsula to the south, but I was sure the lights of the cities would obscure the light.
Still, there it was, right where it was supposed to be: a bright light in the Western sky.
I watched it for a while. It glimmered and winked, as “stars” do in urban pollution, but it was definitely a bright point that hung still amidst all the airplanes coming and going from the three major airports nearby.
And I thought: those two planets came together, tonight, and they are brighter than they’ve been in hundreds of years, brighter than they will ever be for hundreds more. They look down on a hurting world, a world in a lot of trouble.
At first I thought: they hang up there, oblivious. They don’t care.
It is true, the planets can’t care, but that doesn’t change the miracle that I can see them. I can see them despite the fact that there are a million lights shining just below me. I can see them despite growing cataracts in my eyes, despite everything. They are just there, objects of wonder.
The miracle is not only that they are there, in alignment. The miracle is that they are there, and we know what they are. They are two huge planets, “gas giants,” and they reflect the light of our sun so brilliantly that I can see them from my patio tonight.
We human beings make messes all the time, but we are capable of science, and art, and insight into matters much larger and infinitely smaller than ourselves.
If two planets can come into alignment, why not we?
If we can recognize the wonder in the sky, maybe there is still hope for this messed-up world. Maybe we can recognize the wonder in each other. Maybe we can SEE.
It was cold on the patio, and I had to come inside. That “star” is so bright I can see it through the window. I can see it hanging there, telling me:
“Miracles are all around you. All you have to do is look and see.”