"The sun has finally began to set on this day, all of its shattered colors spilling far across the horizon for all of the city to see. Orange to red, blue to purple, and so on. The minutes go by as I pass it by setting up the telescope in my backyard where it's most quiet and far from the deck. Dad would've let me use the observatory he authorized in the house but there's something about taking this old thing out for a spin that I like; it's just me and the telescope, the sky and the wind on my back. It's a little bit chilly on this autumn evening due to said wind. Stars began to pop into existence one by one, sprawled out in an uneven pattern; the tripod squeaks and creaks as I spread its legs and place it gingerly on the stone beneath our feet.
After making sure I can easily move the optical tube in any direction while staying secure on the tripod, the sun has dipped below the trees, saying 'good night' to me and 'good morning' to the other side of the world. The sky has turned mostly black, and now I can get to work.
'Alright, Universe, what have you got for me tonight...' I say to myself as I peer into the eyeglass. Suddenly the landscape around me, all of the trees and grass and the ponds, disappears and I'm left staring up into what I can only describe as Heaven. Splashes of color are everywhere, from the planets to the Moon to the moons of the planets. I can see some of the craters on our planet's Moon, greyish tints sprawled against an otherwise glowing yellow body. The moons of the other planets have seen their fair share of damage done but are too distant for this telescope to see those kinds of details. If I adjust the magnitude of the lens, then I can see that they sparkle red, orange, and yellow though, in their own special way. They're still tiny dots to me, floating by their somewhat clearer host planets.
'I'm gonna visit you all one day...' I tell all the planets as though they can hear me, or care. All seven of them. And I mean it.
I'm not looking for anything in particular or anything in some kind of order; sometimes it's nice to just stare at the sky and try to be one with the universe. It's certainly quiet and one way to put my head back on straight. This telescope of mine can't see nebulae or galaxies - that's a job for the observatory and the space department - but I know approximately where they are; thanks, Astro class.
After a while I pull my head back and let my naked eye wander over what I've just seen; the constellations are on full displays and I remember the stories I was told in elementary school about them. Warriors, fierce animals, and best friends who lost one another on this planet only to be reunited back up in the skies; it's all good stuff if you've heard of them. Makes me wonder if there's anybody out there in another world who has stories about the stars, too; if they look up at the same ones that I do and see what I do or if they have their own unique histories. There's no way this measly planet is all that's out there, right? My eyes eventually wander over what I know to be a galaxy; it's bright like a planet in the sky, a bit unusual. It's the closest galaxy to this one, and it looks like spilled milk... the Milky Way, I think it's called. Wonder what's going on over there.
I lay in the grass, my arms behind my head and just stare. It's a time like this where my mind runs faster than my thoughts; it's filling with all these questions. Are we alone in the universe? Where are the aliens? Why can't we see each other? Do they look like me, my friends, my family? What would I do if I met them? What if we are the only ones out there? Are they violent - would I be violent to them? Are these questions better left unanswered? No matter how hard our space programs work, research, and get out into the universe, I know I never feel satisfied with the answers; it's why I've got to get myself in there and study so I find out myself. Don't leave any question unanswered, even if that's my arrogant brain talking.
They say that there are planets out there that are lifeless, and we are on the verge of getting there to colonize them; wonder how that'd turn out for us. Sometimes we can't even take care of our own planet so how can we take care of another? And sometimes we can't even treat each other with basic respect; if we saw aliens, maybe we wouldn't treat them well. Even still, humankind will never stop reaching for the stars, I hope.
'Luna, you out here?' Breaking my thought process, I hear my little sister calling for me and I snap back up, sitting on the cold stone.
'Dad says it's time to come inside,' she emphasizes. I look at my watch, fumble with a few buttons to turn it on, and notice that some time has passed... all of two hours. A shiver runs down my spine as it suddenly hits me just how cold it got; my skin feels like ice and I can see my breath a little bit. Did I fall asleep somehow?
'I'm coming,' I respond, bouncing back to my feet and bringing the telescope with me back inside. These thoughts will be put back on the shelf..."
To be continued.