McNaught Caught

Last night was my last night in Aus for a while and clear weather so we celebrated by driving down to the beach. The sunset was lovley but there was no sign of a comet.

My mind wandered to the closness you feel with people when you are leaving. So often in my life of wandering i have been surprised by the sweet things people have to say as you prepair to leave. Michelle in Birdwood had thanked me the day before for being a nice person to do buisness with. Neighbours put on a BBQ. Landlord gave me a referance. That it should wait till then…

On returning to Willunga we walked to the end of the garden to look for the comet again and there it was. Above the shed, at almost ninety degrees from the ecliptic, the most unbeleivably enourmas spray of gas and dust. It was so unexpected, a tail a million kilometers long or more, so big in the sky that i could not cover it with my whole hand. Grant and i stood for hours watching it become more distinct as the night grew darker.

Since a child reading Moomintroll i have dreamed of seeing a proper comet. The one i saw in 1997 you could cover with your thumb but McNaught had so much atmosphere last night. To see something so resplendant was an inspiration and now i understand completly the fear our ancestors felt at shch a sight.

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