“I should have paid more attention in school,” he says.
I’ve lost track of how many times people have said those exact words to me.
“It’s never too late to start learning something new,” I reply, as I always do.
He laughs. “Maybe.” He had asked many great questions while observing Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn through the telescope. How far away are they? What are Saturn’s rings made of? Why is Mars red?
He thanks me and walks away. I start packing up the telescope. It’s a cold night and soon I’m shivering. I’ve been outside for three hours, standing still in the biting wind, as people stopped to look through the telescope. (A big salute to my neighbors from River Arts, who showed up in force, as seen in the photo above.)
A few minutes later, I hear the same man say to someone else, “Come over here. You really need to see this.”
I look. He’s standing a short distance away, where there’s a clear view of the sky. He’s pointing up, with one hand on his friend’s shoulder. “The really bright one is Jupiter. That one over there is Saturn. You’ve got to see the rings next time. And that one is Mars.”
“It’s red!” his friend exclaims.
“The rocks on the surface are all rusted. It’s the red planet, man.”