Be Inspired

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Some of my fondest memories of growing up are of times I spent with my cousins in Los Baños. As a young boy, every summer until about age twelve, I spent a week there. My uncle, Wayne, worked as an executive for a large farming company, and the family lived in a sprawling home surrounded by thousands of acres of farm land.

It was more like a compound than a family home, and staying there was like being at a resort; there was an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a surrounding cabana, a guest house, horse corrals and a barn, all nestled between acre-sized lawns and enormous beds of blooming flowers. While I don’t know if it’s true, I was told that their house was once the vacation residence of Ernest Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron and namesake of Lawrence Livermore and Berkeley National Laboratories.

Despite living on what could only be described as an estate, my aunt never put on airs—she was as personable and down-to-earth as one could imagine, and she always made my visits with them times I would forever remember.

One time in particular that I can still recall perfectly in my mind was one warm summer evening when she offered me and my cousin, Jim, popsicles. We of course obliged as she then suggested that we all go out—way out—onto the front lawn and lie down and gaze at the stars. Soon, there we were, the three of us, some fifty yards or so from the house, flat on our backs looking up at a coal-black sky blanketed with shimmering diamonds.

It was breathtaking. It was a moment of inspiration that began a life-long love and interest in Astronomy.

As I write this, the world awaits a spectacular event—a total eclipse of the Sun.The next one visible in North America won’t occur until 2024. By the time you’re reading this, you either “caught the bug” and went outdoors to witness the event, or passed it off as no big deal, continuing with your usual routine. I hope you chose the former.

But don’t feel bad if you missed it; tonight offers the opportunity for another experience that could well be just as moving. Simply go outdoors, somewhere as far away from city lights as you can find, spread out a blanket and lie down. As you look heavenward you’ll see what is always overhead, every night—it is God’s canvas—that same coal-black sky filled with diamonds.       

Whether by an eclipse, or just a warm, summer evening with loved ones, may you too be inspired.   



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