Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Morning

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,

And the green freedom of a cockatoo

Upon a rug mingle to dissipate

The holy hush of ancient sacrifice...

Well, anyway, that was Wallace Stevens's idea of a Sunday Morning, in 1915, in Key West.

93 years later, in February, in Connecticut, things look a bit different. Gone is the holy hush, replaced by WQXR predicting rain and snow showers for later this evening. There may be coffee and oranges, but for the life of me I cannot find the cockatoo. Clearly, there is a carpet, but the bird is missing. Perhaps he was eaten by the cat. She certainly has a guilty look around her whiskers. Perhaps, in a cantankerous mood, she decided to poop on the powder room floor. It is hard to tell with her: she is an inscrutable creature.

At any rate, upon the back of a leathery old ottoman sits an atlas of the stars, open to page 53, wherein the author distinguishes, for the curious reader, how the signs of the zodiac appear along the plane of the ecliptic.

The book is entitled, Nightwatch: A Practical Guide for Viewing the Universe, and it comes to us courtesy of the Ferguson Library in Stamford. I stopped there yesterday afternoon on my way back from the gym in the city. Usually, on Saturdays, I like to stop at the library, pick up a movie or two, or something new to read. I tried to find the adjacent book, too, but the section on mathematics at Ferguson is a bit weak.


I am inching a bit closer to making that telescope purchase I mentioned earlier this week. I think I may wait for the warmer weather to do it. For the rest of the winter, I am going to try to spend as many clear nights out in the backyard as possible, reacquainting myself with the Heavens. I used to be able to identify about 15 constellations, but these days...

I can still find the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, Orion, Cassiopeia, the Teapot, Gemini, the Pleiades (a star cluster), and Hercules, but I have lost sight of the rest. I am better with the planets, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter I can still discern on a clear night, with almost no trouble.

Now, however, I must swab the kitchen floor. And then I must fold some laundry and conjugate a dozen or so Japanese verbs. So, I am off.

Have a nice day!

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