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Following the (sun) bear

NASA / Voyager 1
Traveling onward and outward ...
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DUST DEVIL DREAMS

OKLAHOMA CITY - Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 has become the first human-created spacecraft to enter interstellar space.

As TheStar.com noted in today's article "A voyager's amazing tale," Voyager 1 is 19 billion kilometers from home and is still going, even after its instruments are shut down for good in 2025.

But here is what is interesting. In the year 40272 - more than 38,000 years from now - Voyager 1 will come close to the nearest star - Gliese 445 - on its present course. That star is a minor member of the constellation Ursa Minor - "the little bear."

It would appear our ursine friend is making himself known in sync world, as we have seen in the news. For instance, here in the United States we only look towards Glacier National Park in Montana and see a story in The Missoulian where bears are making themselves known at St. Mary Campground, on the east boundary between St. Mary Lake and Lower St. Mary Lake. People are being warned to not stay in tents or pop-up campers at St. Mary.

Bears.

Interesting. They make themselves known as retired Indiana cop David Goodrich noted this week after he had a summer encounter in Wyoming with a bear.

Bears, Goodrich told WLFI.com "(don't) really know what you are. He's just protecting his territory."

Bears do get territorial from time to time, looking for pick-a-nick baskets and all.

But back to Glacier National Park …

Glacier's St. Mary Lake, of course, is the lake that is featured in the opening credits of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 classic The Shining. The helicopter shot in those hypnotically-eerie opening credits then moves over to the neighboring road and a small yellow Volkswagen Beetle making its way up Going-To-The-Sun Road and driven by Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who is seeking employment as caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Will Jack Nicholson continue acting, the world wonders?

We learn on September 11, 2013 that the newly-married Jordan Linn Graham was formally arrested for the murder of her new husband, Cody Lee Johnson - and marking it the "first murder in Glacier National Park's history."

And where did this murder take place? Right off a trail near Glacier's iconic Going-To-The-Sun Road.

Friends say Graham was an awkward woman and prone to weirdness. Johnson was simply in love. He never knew that the love of his life would turn on him and murder him. His body would later have to be retrieved by helicopter, the terrain was so rugged. It was by helicopter that Kubrick was able to get all those amazing, breathtaking shots …

The Johnson/Graham case sounds a lot like the Torrance family in The Shining.

Jack Torrance was a bit offbeat like Jordan Linn Graham while Wendy, his wife, was kind, to the point of being gullible, much like Cody Lee Johnson.

Stephen King, who wrote The Shining, a book that Kubrick would turn into one of the best film's of all time, has admitted this week that he is "nervous" about the raction to his forthcoming sequel to his novel The Shining.

Yes, I said this week …

Danny Torrance, now a middle-aged adult - is the focus of Doctor Sleep, which will be released in four days. On a TUESDAY.

Said King: "But what I really want them to say is that it is better than The Shining."

And while the world anticipates a new Stephen King novel involving a Torrance, and shakes its collective head over the shocking murder case along Going-To-The-Sun Road many are also dwelling on whether the American Eagle's odd diplomatic dealings with the Russian Bear - or is that really a cunning, Russian fox - is leading the world in a different direction. Uncharted territory.

Vladimir Putin, as we see in this Bloomberg story "Vladimir Putin: President, Peacemaker, Talk Show Host," is basking in the glory of his recent successes, having blocked the U.S. from carrying out air strikes in Syria, while making the feckless Barack Obama seem weak, confused and ineffectual. The world is recognizing this Russian Bear and the fact that it is coming out of hibernation and making its strength known once again.

Again, the bear. And this time America is following and not leading.

As a side note, on a recent visit to the San Diego Zoo, my favorite animal was the Sun Bear. A bear found in tropical forest habitats of Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, a sun bear is known as a honey bear and loves honey and honeycombs.

Honeycombs, of course, are hexagonal and hexagons are also found on Saturn. Voyager 1 took some amazing pictures of Saturn in 1980 - the year The Shining was released - and they show the hexagon.

A hexagon is a shape with six sides. And for me, 6 is an important number. A book I am working on involves the music of 1966. More on that later …

Meanwhile, Voyager 1 - like Paul McCartney tells us in The Beatles' song "I'll Follow the Sun" - follows the sun for as long as it takes." Cody Lee Johnson was warned by friends to break things off with Jordan Linn Graham. As Paul sings "One day, you'll look, to see I've gone, but tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun."

Johnson and Graham did follow "the sun" on Going-To-The-Sun Road - although not in a beatle … or is that Beetle? Either way, one remained and the other, well, as Paul McCartney sings in his missed, melancholy way: "And though I lose a friend, in the end you will know …"

We suspect that as Graham sits in that Missoula jail that she is realizing she truly lost a friend.

And what of Voyager 1? It continues onward on its lonely journey into the depths of the universe. Perhaps our descendants, in whatever form they may take, will learn about Voyager's discoveries.

It reminds me of one of my absolute favorite Rolling Stones songs, 1967's psychedelic classic "2,000 Light Years From Home" from Their Satanic Majesties Request. "Bound for a star with fiery oceans ..."

"Seen you on Aldebaran, safe on the green desert sand / It's so very lonely, you're 2,000 light years from home."

And Aldebaran, in Arabic, means "The Follower." And when it comes to occultations, Aldebran - a Red Giant - is close enough to the ecliptic to be occulted by the Moon. And when do these occultations occur? When the Moon's ascending node is near the autumnal equinox, like now. Granted, it won't happen again for just two years, but it is something to think about as we enter fall here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Hello 2015! Hello 2015!

Copyright 2013 Red Dirt Report

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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