Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, who boasted about her unrivalled beauty. Cassiopeia was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations today. It is easily recognizable due to its distinctive 'M' shape when in upper culmination but in higher northern locations when near lower culminations in spring and summer it has a 'W' shape, formed by five bright stars. It is bordered by Andromeda to the south, Perseus to the southeast, and Cepheus to the north. It is opposite the Big Dipper. In northern locations above 34ºN latitude it is visible year-round and in the (sub)tropics it can be seen at its clearest from September to early November in its characteristic 'M' shape. Even in low southern latitudes below 25ºS is can be seen low in the North.
Many years ago I first I learned of this constellation and probably in fact the word "constellation". Dad had just showed us his new toy and I thought it was one of the craziest contraptions I had seen and pretty cool also. As he taught us of the night sky, and these bodies called constellations, I paid close attention to this one so closely named to my sister (Kassandra). Over the years I could pick it out of the sky very quickly when asked or when offered to others as a display of my intelligence to those with "lesser" wisdom. Haha. As the years have rolled on I've lost such ability and in fact find very little time to awe and/or revel about the night sky; nowhere near like when I was a boy. Outside of the Big Dipper, such memories, knowledge and reverence, have been tucked far far away in the recesses of my brain.
So when Tiff asked me the other evening "have you noticed the stars in the sky the last few nights?..They're beautiful!" My answer was ..ah no...have not seen them. What about the drive up to Prairie Du Lac to see Bryce and his family? ..did you notice the trees changing colors?" Ah....not so much. I did notice the bath house at 6:45am this morning taking a shower. Noticed the cold. noticed having to leave for yet another 2 hour daily road trip. keenly aware of another subway lunch....
As this blog content started building in my mind I contemplated these questions from Tiff. Why was it my answers were "no" so quickly considering, since getting into Madison, I have seen much of the country side...well at least many miles of Wisconsin roads. See we arrived in Madison Monday, got the RV setup sort of speaking, and then Tuesday morning headed over to the local friendly Enterprise Rental car location. Why...because this guy has appointments in Lacrosse 2 hours NW from where we now sit.
So Tuesday afternoon I head north for appointments at 3 and 4pm. Then turned around and came "home". All said some 274 miles in one day! Then back working from the RV Wednesday and then Thursday appointment in Kiel and Appleton Wisconsin. All in one day, once again, and all told roughly another 200 mile day. We are talking close to 500 miles over 2 days of driving this beautiful state of Wisconsin yet did I notice more than road? the "stars" in the color of the leaves? Sure I noticed some of it having commented to its brilliance during my appointments. So yes I had to have seen right?...but did I really "SEE" it's beauty or just notice it occasionally and with a lack of awe and appreciation? I would guess the later.
But there was a prescient moment experienced during the drive into Kiel, this small and beautiful town in eastern Wisconsin, which set me back into an area of better perspective. Getting me close again to some wonder in my life maybe. Some necessary Awe
The morning sun was very bright and why I needed to use the visor in the truck to cut down the glare. The wind was blowing again pretty hard and why both hands were on the wheel in the proper 12-3 position. ok probably not the right position... Anyway all of a sudden notice a reflection on the visor coming off my wedding ring. A pattern looking almost identical to Cassiopeia! Close enough to have the memory of it so long ago hit me right between the eyes. It moved me enough to slow down, possible considering this was a remote country road with very few cars on the road but myself, and when I attempted to take a picture of it while on this remote county road MM, XX, AB, or was it MN?? Who knows. Again it amazed me and why at that moment I also thought of my wife and her question of seeing the stars, and thinking of her ability or better yet her alignment with beauty in the small things in her day. I thought of her the rest of the trip. More specifically thinking about how could I get away from the drunk monkey in my head, worrying about this that and the other, and to get closer with her and the kids on this journey both in mind and spirit...not just body.
Struggling a bit with this massive change I guess you might believe and you would be right in saying so. Man how comfortable I must have been in my day to day before.
After my last appointment in Appleton I headed to see a long time friend in Neenah..about 15 miles away. While driving through the city I saw a church and felt compelled to pull over. Why... I have no reason but I did and once parked, walked to the church and proceeded to go inside. The doors were open and upon entering felt no one but me was in the entire building. I proceed to walk into the chapel. Again dead silence, lights off, only the sound of wind from outside (there's that wind again). Let me highlight quickly this is absolutely out of character for me..the pulling over and walking into a random church, let alone the time I spent there. I was like "what the heck am I doing..other then maybe trespassing...can you do that in a church ?!"
I proceeded to walk to the front of the church and kneel down to offer up some questions; some having been posed already in this blog. I knelt for awhile and then sat in one of the pews. Next to me were a hymnal and a bible. No I didn't start singing...lol. But I did pick the bible up and open to Kings something or nother. I thought maybe I would get some kind of message from Him as to what I was doing there as well as this crazy trip less than a full week in. I read very briefly Kings and nothing came to me. Then I flipped to another section and came to Matthew 21 18-22. The message was crystal clear.
18- early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.
19- seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
20- When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
21- Jesus replied "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "go, throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done
22- If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Ah ok wow. awe! I knew now exactly why HE pulled me over.
Thank you for the message of the STars Tiffany Dawn. Truly believe it set today and the happenings in motion. Love you. hang in there with me.