At the End of the Day

Venus is making ready to slip into the arms of her beloved Mars in the morning sky, with Mercury standing by as witness, while Jupiter is slipping lower and lower into the evening twilight at the other end of the day, following Saturn out of sight. What can we make of this?

Once Jupiter drops out of view later this month, there will be no more evening sky planets for awhile ~ only stars when we look west across the Earth after sunset ~ all the way until August.

Sure, we’ll have the Moon passing through the West each month, and occasionally Mercury will pop up to see what’s brewing over the sunset edge of the world, but from Jupiter’s setting this month until August, there will basically be no planets in the sky at the end of the day. This doesn’t always happen, so it’s worth paying attention to.

And by paying attention what I mean is imagine, it’s just us at the end of the day, for weeks on end, crafting our “happily ever afters” as best we can, with only an occasional trickster god to mediate as the link between humanity and the stars.

I asked my poet friend Peter Rennick to imagine such a thing, to which he replied:

Now we come to the dumbest

Darkest nights of the year

When all the planets huddle

On the other side of the earth

Hidden in the cradle of the sun

And only a handful of icy stars

Shiver above the moony lake

At last we’re left on our own

To cross these darkest depths

This no-man’s-land of dreams

Like candles without flames

To the land of the unborn

To the light of the farthest star

Each of us sailing to rescue

Our own individual dawn.

                               ~Peter Rennick

To your happily ever after!


Hear this episode on Interlochen Public Radio and The Storyteller’s Night Sky podcast.

Image above from Sky&Telescope.