Colosseum, Roman Forum, Baths of Caracalla. The Pantheon. Rome's engineers knew more about concrete than we do now, and their architecture proves it. They used arches in ways that you will not find in any modern building. Their designs are considered unsafe by modern building codes, and yet they still stand. It reminds us that knowledge can be lost, that if we don't work to preserve our own civilization, we will lose it.
We are sitting again in Piazza di Santa Maria, I am waiting to meet up with an old friend. We watch a clown entertain the children with his hundreds of props, imitating the people who pass by. The most powerful motivator is joy, and beyond the science, this is what I want people to feel when they see the moon. I look up at the twilight sky and see it occasionally peak through. The forecast predicted clouds, so we did not pack our scope, hoping for a night off.
I don't make my hours, the moon does. Each time it shines on us, there is a chance to make another observation, share something new, as if there will be limited chances in my whole life to do it. But I cannot let it rule us. If I cannot take joy from the moon each time I see it, then I am missing the point. So I smile at the clouds, and allow the immortal moon to sit in the sky, unobserved for just one evening.
Brendan poses in front of the temple of Saturn, reminding us that humans have always marveled at the beauty of the night sky.