This month, the red planet is visible in the southern sky from my driveway – and its become an old friend, for I see it every night when pulling the car into the garage. It shines like a gentle beacon down on my life. I will miss it when it finally leaves its post.
Mars does not look red, not to the naked eye, nor with looking glasses. But it is tinged with a hot character, unlike the cooler look of the other stars in the sky. So it is special and always will be.
In many ways, since it came into the night sky, my mood has become more reflective and sombre. But then, thats surely a coincidence. Academics are prone to data-snooping just as much as anyone else – just as psychologists are not immune to failings of the psyche. But there is nothing wrong with wishful thinking – my reading rate since Mars appeared has doubled, and I will wait and see if it drops off when Mars leaves!
But the arrival of Mars is a metaphor for life. Even though it occupies but a tiny fraction of the visible sky, it has made me look much more closely at a disproportionately large extent. It started me gazing, and even after looking long at Mars, there was so much to see. It is but a catalyst for engagement with the night sky. So it is with life – small things lead to much bigger things, well in excess of their sphere of immediate influence.
Mars is hope – nothing is insignificant – small things lead to much more. So keep looking, and don’t ignore what may be small details, for they are most meaningful.