Satellites

7:30pm and the sun had fully set. In that ocean of dark, and familiar landmarks of stars and planets, a satellite. I thought: This is machinery. This is in free fall above me. In the 80s when we would lay out and watch the night sky, my parents would point them out for me. Faint twirling embers. They were a rarity then. Scarce.

Within a few minutes, a brighter satellite emerged from the horizon, rising in defiance of gravity, in an unrepentant arc. I watched as it climbed and turned, blinking off and on as it spun out of the sun’s light and back into it, a ship signaling an SOS from far off shore. Unbelievably, yet another satellite, an order of magnitude dimmer, floated across my vision in the opposite direction. I traced its path, anticipating it continuing to the eastern horizon and below it, when it turned at a 90 degree angle toward the south. I had never seen one do that. I’m still not convinced they can.

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