From UD‘s hotel room, the sweet town of Corning New York awakens. She was an hour away from here last night, on the dark sky field at Cherry Springs State Park, gazing up at the starriest overhead she had ever seen. Just lying there in a glittering bowl of universe.

No cell phone service, so she couldn’t refer to her screen to identify constellations. She could only bathe in the stippled light. She loved the murmur of other pilgrims assembled around her as they adjusted their cameras and telescopes and shared their excitement with one another at the full unfolding of what’s always there. As for the stars, writes Joseph Brodsky, they are always on, and even though she just witnessed the massive violence of the universe bearing down always on the earth, UD will never be able to square all of that with the little sunlit town in her window, the calm of its yellow leaves and schoolbuses and steepled hills.

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