CHASING NEOWISE

Dear Friends,

I learn so much from chance conversations.  If it hadn’t been for a recent casual remark by a fellow golfer, I would not have heard of the latest comet sensation – Neowise. For someone who loves astronomical events, I don’t know how I missed this.  My research told me the best night to see the comet would be on July 22 (when it was closest to earth) and soon after that, it would not be returning for “close” observation until 6,800 years in the future!

How often do we get such an opportunity , so I plotted my strategy.  I would venture out into my neighborhood after dark on Wednesday evening July 22nd.  I knew that I should look to the north west sky close to the Big Dipper. See this link.

Exploring my neighborhood after dark under the light of a crescent moon in my trusty little golf cart:

After driving around my neighborhood for 45 minutes trying to find a good viewing spot, my instincts directed me to a wide open area where I had an unobstructed view of the Big Dipper.  I parked my cart, turned off its headlights, and picked up the family binoculars. Weighing in at about 3 lbs, they hung quite heavy around my neck.

Our family binoculars, obtained from a Navy scrap ship.  Quite an antique!

I started scanning the sky left and below of the Big Dipper. Nothing came into view except the few diamond like stars already sparkling in the evening sky.  I cranked my aching neck back and repeatedly scanned. Nothing.  I texted a friend that I had come up empty. “Too bad,” she replied.

EUREKA!

Disappointed, I decided to call it a night and return home but inwardly I felt a pull to try one more time. AND THERE IT WAS! How had I missed it? A fuzzy off-white ball with a murky white tail streaming behind it. I put the binoculars down and rested my neck and then took them up again. They zoomed in again like a laser beam straight at the comet.

A sweet, gentle euphoria filled my being. I put the binoculars down and gazed at the sky with naked eyes and could not see the comet whatsoever. I repeated this ritual several times and each time I peered through the binoculars, I found Neowise! Here I had been ready to give up and go home, but I got my reward! As an evening breeze blew through me, I basked in the quiet of the evening and my good fortune. I definitely felt some swooning inside.

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This is exactly what I saw

The three mile wide Neowise was discovered on March 27, 2020.  It  became a sensation because it’s rare to see a bright comet with only the naked eye or binoculars.   Neowise was discovered by a space telescope set up not to find comets but to to spot asteroids and other objects near earth.  The telescope is called “Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer”.   Quite a mouth-full, so Neowise for short!

RECALLING ANOTHER LUCKY MOMENT:

Having the good fortune to finally spot Neowise after some effort reminded me of a time when I was snorkeling in Maui seven years ago.  I wanted to see a sea turtle SO badly and made it my mission. I snorkeled around and around in circles but began to give up hope, thinking it wasn’t going to be my day  So, I made a decision to return to the beach. In that very moment the largest turtle I had ever seen swam directly under me. I couldn’t contain my excitement – my heart started beating rapidly in my chest and I was filled with joy.  A beautiful, big turtle so close that I could practically reach down and touch it.  I was giddy with excitement and gratitude.

Back to the evening of July 22:  As I drove my golf cart home at 9:30pm I saw a woman standing alone on a sidewalk turning her head right and left, up and down and all around😃.  I kept driving but then I decided to turn around and engage her in conversation.

“Are you looking for the comet?” I asked. She replied that she was. I shared my experience and told her where to go to increase her chances of viewing the comet and added, don’t forget the binoculars!  She was very grateful for the information and I was happy that I had circled back to speak with her.  Oh the things we learn from chance conversations!

NEO AND THE MATRIX

Let me add here that there was something nagging at the back of my mind about the name “Neowise”.   What came to me immediately was:

BE AS WISE AS NEO

Who was Neo?  Well, of course he was the main character in the movie The Matrix.  And why was Neo special?  Well, he took the red pill which unplugged his body’s neural connection to the matrix.   I’ve made certain decisions in my life to unplug from what I perceive to be the matrix and trust my own gut and instincts. My grown children have made decisions to unplug in their own ways:  cancelling cable, growing gardens, moving to the country, building chicken coops, and fishing and hunting to put food on the table.  I am very proud of them.

QUESTION EVERYTHING

To unplug from the matrix, it is imperative to ask questions.  The author Charles Earnest Essert, a life long searcher, put it perfectly in his posthumously published book, Secret Splendor: The Journey Within”:

“Questions relating to self are vital.  Who am I? What am I?  What am I apart from this name, this body, this mind? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is the purpose of all this struggle? What is behind the curiosity which impels me to ask such questions? Queries of this nature pave the way for direct illumination for the answer comes to those who are ever seeking, asking, knocking, never to those who think they know….we must ask with the foreknowledge that we do not know and with the realization that only an expansion of consciousness which reveals the infinite can supply the answers.”

Gazing into the heavens for inspiration

SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND

I pray that each and everyone of you find that which your heart is seeking.  It doesn’t have to be on a grand or cosmic scale; it’s usually the simple things that bring peace and joy to the heart.  For example, in addition to rare streaking comets, large sea turtles, and watching my grandchildren grow, the Mexican Bird of Paradise flower imbued with deep orange and yellow hues always brings me joy.   They are ubiquitous in my desert neighborhood but I never tire of looking at them.  Just yesterday I was playing classical music in the backyard, and these flowers peeked over a neighbor’s wall and danced and swayed in the breeze, as if on cue with the music. I had another experience of soft swooning inside.  I seek peace and understanding in Nature, and I definitely prefer to plug into Her.

What exquisitely simple thing has brought you joy lately?

Love,

S.G.

18 thoughts on “CHASING NEOWISE

    • Dear Jennifer,

      I am so honored to have my fellow family blogger here on my pages. Quality time outside with family always kept me sane and the tradition continues! You are a wise woman and Mom, so I have no doubt that you will navigate each day with the balance of your mind and heart. Those two children of your’s are beautiful intelligent souls and it gives me tremendous joy not only to be their grandmother, but to see them grow. I promise I will visit often.

      Here’s to future explorations and outings to find comets and sea turtles and other treasures of land and sea!

      Love
      Nana Sue

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  1. Susan, the family binoculars are a story all by themselves. I am happy for your “Eureka!” Like you say “reward.” Thank you for explaining the term “Neowise.” I do believe you, Susan, bring forth unique parts and layers of life and our Universe, maybe because you stay open to the possibility. Interesting about your association with The Matrix.

    You do this to me almost every post…..goosebumps! “I’ve made certain decisions in my life to unplug from what I perceive to be the matrix and trust my own gut and instincts.” The asking and the questions is huge.

    A beautiful and thought-provoking post, as always, Susan. I get it. Re: your question, I have something “simple” I am playing with in my mind lately. I am not sure how I will share it. Thank you for the beauty of your photos and the beauty of your words.xx❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear E/E,

      As always I am so happy to have you here and receive your own special brand of wisdom and insight that never fails!

      My husband worked many years in the shipyards painting and repairing ships, and a colleague got those binoculars and gifted them to my husband. They are old, heavy, and quite weathered, but I love them! I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Knowing I was going out on the evening of July 22, I badgered my husband to make sure he found the binoculars. They were in a storage unit in the garage.

      As I age and grow (hopefully) in wisdom, I seem to question a lot. I would have been a great 60s hippie who said “don’t trust the establishment” ha ha. My sons and I have really penetrating conversations because they are questioners too!

      I was really grateful to receive and write this post. I do it with the “foreknowledge that I do not know”. Oh I have a seed of an idea, but I have no idea how the story is going to flow out, or even if it will. When it does come together, there is no one more grateful than me.

      I really look forward to hearing about your “something simple”.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I figured there would be more of a story behind the binoculars, Susan. My “something simple” has been germinating. Busy Summer around here, so it may continue to to germinate for awhile. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement, as always. xx

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear E/E:

      I’m back again and had to share! Not long after writing my comment to you, I came across a Youtube video that was on the recommended page. I had a chuckle because it’s about the spiritual search and mentions the red and blue pill! Ha ha, what great synchronicity. Anyway it was a profound video, less than 10 minutes long:

      “The endurance of darkness is preparation for great light”. (oh please may that be true, dear God, especially for 2020 and beyond)

      I hope you can get a chance to peak at it. I’m sending it to friends and family who might understand, have eyes to see or ears to hear.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did listen to all of this, Susan. I appreciate you sharing. I notice Eckhart Tolle discusses this same subject. I may check him out in future. I began to jot down some notes since a great deal of wisdom here. “Unconscious experience with conscious consequences”. “Life is not what it seems.” “Cannot unseeded what you have seen”. “Receptive versus defensive”. And soooo much more. Good stuff! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Susan – The more that I read your posts, the more that I wish we could have had more 1:1 coffee time together in Palm Desert. You are very wise, and your words very thought-provoking. Chance conversations? Chance sightings? Or meant to be?
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Donna,

      I know we would have had wonderful reciprocal conversations! Did you know Papa Dan’s closed down? They were due to renew their lease anyway and chose to go separate ways. So the community’s favorite hang-out is no longer; and now I treasure all the good times and memories I had there with people. The club house is closed so NO Daily Grind either. I know that small business operators are suffering terribly.

      I love your emphasis on “chance conversations” and “chance sightings”. I would like to think it was *all meant to be*. I think about my encounter with the little disabled boy on a hike that I chronicled in my blog last month. It was a “chance” encounter that I like to think was meant to be! Experiences like this always give me grist for the mill and sets my brain gears in motion, with the notion that it is something not to be kept to myself but to be shared with other people!

      You were my inspiration and impetus to keep on blogging. Another chance encounter that changed my life. 😉

      Sending you big hugs.

      Love
      S.G.

      Like

  3. Susan, plugging into Nature is as good as it gets. I am so glad that your patience paid dividends and you were rewarded with a beautiful view of the comet. Truly, a once in a lifetime moment. This great pause has given us all time to reflect on simplicity, hasn’t it? Thanks for sharing your insights and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I haven’t always been the most patient of people, but as I age, my favorite saying becomes “patience pays off”. ha ha I kind of marvel that each time I was ready to throw in the towel, I was rewarded.

      Yes this great pause has given us all ample opportunity for reflection; on what matters most and what brings us deep abiding joy.

      I really appreciate your reading and commenting! Thank YOU.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bonny,

      Thank you so much for reading. I remember leaving my apartment in Pacifica one night to drive all around town to get a glimpse of a special and rare full moon. I could have easily stayed and rested on the couch, but I didn’t want to miss a thing! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and the photos! I had a lot of fun writing this and sharing my adventures and mishaps! I hope you are enjoying your little place by the Pacific ocean and getting in your scenic walks!

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  4. Susie it just makes my day when I read all your beautiful writings AND to see your beautiful photos, especially of your family. I miss you and hope to see you soon.
    Love you,
    Laurie

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG hello dear friend! It’s so good to hear from you and thank you for reading and commenting. I get to share my adventures here in this blog and it gives me such satisfaction to know a friend like you reads it and is touched by it.

      I know I’ll see you again but times are definitely strange and tortured. We do need to catch up by FaceTime like we promised each other.

      Hey my handicap went down to 19/20. I guess a little practice paid off? I go to the range once a week, and practice the short game separately once a week. (Time in my hands thanks to retirement ha ha). But recently I went out and I was on fire but on the back nine I could not hit a fairway wood for the life of me. That’s golf 🙀

      Love you much
      Susie

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  5. Wonderful read as always Susan. The photos were amazing !!!!
    I also looked for the comet that evening from my deck. It was a bit foggy, but I did get a glimpse of it.
    Life is a bit crazy now days, but I’m so very grateful for every breath, and for all the gifts of family and
    friends.
    Hugs and Blessings
    Maria

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Maria,

      So good to hear from you! A couple of days ago I borrowed my son-in-law‘s night vision goggles while visiting at their home in Texas and took a peek at the evening sky near the big dipper. Neowise was sadly gone but the view I got took my breath away. It was amazing – I saw billions of stars, shooting stars, and even satellites! I so wished I could have seen Neowise from my family’s back porch here in Texas but it’s not coming back for over 6,000 years but maybe there will be others. 😄

      Yes I am so grateful too but I’m hoping the craziness dies down. In the meantime I’ll keep looking to the heavens for inspiration and count all my blessings.

      You are a good friend and such a loyal reader. I am so grateful for your support.

      Love
      Susan

      Like

  6. Thank you for this post, Susan. It is a good
    reminder to stay curious, and marvel at the
    wonders of creation.
    I marvel at watching the hummingbirds
    in my hummingbird feeder and the little
    birds that surround my friend’s wild
    bird feeder. Watching birds fascinates me.
    Thanks again for this reminder.
    Much love,
    Gail

    Liked by 1 person

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