Moonlight through Weeds

There have been many messages expressing regret that there will be no more Astronomical Calendars after the one for 2016.  These messages have been generous, and moving – one or two were angry! – and I’ve replied to them.  Today came one from Michael Bristol.  (I’m not sure where he lives.)

His regret takes the form of offering, as “a ‘filler’ for an imaginary Astronomical Calendar 2017,” a passage from The Tale of Genji.  This Japanese classic, written by the Lady Murasaki about 1005 AD, is sometimes called the world’s first novel.  Michael’s passage is from the first chapter, called Kiritsubo. “The Paulownia Pavilion.”

Myobu had no sooner arrived and gone in through the gate than desolation touched her. The mother had kept the place up, despite being a widow, and she had lived nicely enough out of fond concern for her only daughter, but alas, now that grief had laid her low, the weeds grew tall and looked cruelly blown about by the winds, until only moonlight slipped smoothly through their tangles.

Michael communicated with me twice before, about the cover picture story for Astronomical Calendar 2012 (which he was kind enough to call a “near perfect” piece of writing), and about my essay on Madagascar.  Yet Michael’s own knowledge of these places is deeper than mine.  Forty years ago, he went all the way up the Nile on river boats at least from Aswan via Khartoum to Juba in Sudan; and across by cement freighter from Kenya to Madagascar, where he befriended the owners of, and stayed at, a chocolate farm and a crocodile farm, and for three months walked the island “village by village”.


4 thoughts on “Moonlight through Weeds”

  1. The School of Ageless Wisdom will sorely miss your “Astronomical Calendar,” but fully agree with your decision to retire from doing it. (We are grateful that you will send us the information we have always used in our monthly newsletter. We know it will be the most accurate information available on the planet!) I’ve always told people if someone asked you , “Where is Antares, (or any other heavenly body)?” Guy would instantly point in the exact direction — through the planet, if necessary, — and he would not be wrong. He LIVES in the Cosmos!
    (And we LOVE Guy!)

    1. I once did have something like that ability, but that was when I was sleeping out under the stars. And I could do with a bit of ageless wisdom.

      1. What your critics have seemed to miss is that you have not abandoned your fans. Your posts are just as good as the Astro Calendar, maybe even better. Sometimes I would forget to consult the calendar and thus miss astronomical events. But I always see your posts.

        A funny thing about the Astronomical Calendar is that when I’ve told people about it a few have asked, “What’s an astronomical calendar? Is that a really huge calendar?”

        The only thing I’ll miss is that I kept my copy in my adjusting room. If I had to leave the patient in the adjusting room to view their x-rays or to look up information, they would page through it. Now I’ll have to find something else to keep them occupied. Or maybe not… lately my patients have been viewing their smart phone more than the calendar.

        1. Yes, “astronomical” is well on its way to being just another word for “huge”! I expect soon to be asked “Would you like small, medium, or astronomical?”

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