City Lights

On our front porch in the Appalachian valley, there’s too much light pollution to permit us to study the skies and ponder how the ancients figured that those particular stars resemble an archer or a horned goat or a lion.

But we do have city lights to wonder about.

Southeast to southwest, airplane landing lights track across the night sky.

To the south and east, residential lights peek through the trees, pinpointing the windows of the mansions that climb the mountain slopes.

To the southwest, red blinking lights mark TV transmission towers atop the mountain. Between them, spotlights illuminate Vulcan, world’s largest cast iron statue, sculpted for the city’s exhibit at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. On the Fourth of July–and for random private celebrations in between–fireworks explode from the mountain near Vulcan’s base.

To the west, the lights on the tallest downtown buildings shine above the treeline.

And some nights, on the rolling hills right in front of us, tiki torches light the paths, and we know that soon, volunteers will put on an animated LED light show.

There’s preliminary music, and the whooping and the hollering tell us that they’ve already tapped the kegs.

When it’s fully dark, the show begins with a parade of red, blue and green chase lights on ten, fifteen, maybe twenty golf carts. Then, when the charity tournament golf teams reach their appointed tees, we hear the clank of a steel driver hitting the ball, and track the neon green orb arcing along the fairway. Or scudding along the ground.

City lights provide a range of entertainment.

I’m sorry if the only lights you have to watch at night are those emanating from a TV.

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