comet / photos on the fridge

He drifts in,
after years out of sight
and out of mind,
like a comet passing by
on his long trip
around some invisible focus.

My kids mill about,
scuffling and bickering,
impatient for their turn
to look at
Jupiter’s moons,
Saturn rings…

When we look at the stars
we look at the past…
…well, perhaps,
but at the stars’ past,
not at our own.

And then he is gone,
and it is a week
before I notice
two new photos on the fridge:
a galaxy,
and Saturn with its rings.

And I smile and wonder,
how many years
until he circles back,
this visitor from my past again.

So this is even more autobiographical than usual, and hence probably a bit cryptic…. My oldest friend, Cam, a peripatetic astronomer, visited recently. He showed up in his 4WD, “Astronomy Downunder” decals on the doors and telescopes in the back, and stayed a few days. I haven’t worked out what the periodicity of his visits is, but it’s a few years at least. Last time he visited he put a couple of photos on the fridge before he left, when I was at work. It really did take more than a week before I noticed them.  In between visits we’re rarely in contact, and it’s usually a text saying he’s in the area, a few hours or a day before he arrives. On this visit he showed me some photos he took on a trip we did, telescope in the back of my first car, about 25 years ago:

Yes, that is a Volvo 245 with a brick wall painted on it. He taught me to spray paint, and many useful lessons about driving including “when in doubt accelerate”.  Thank you for that lesson Cam, I still apply it on an almost daily basis.
I’m not the focus about which Cam orbits, whatever that is, but I’m glad to be a convenient rest stop on his path.   

2 Comments

Filed under musings, poem

2 responses to “comet / photos on the fridge

  1. I enjoyed your poem and background explanation. Your friend is on his own orbit, but nice to see when he brushes by.

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