Our family has long been blessed by having its own Astronomer Royal, Dr. Richard Schwartz, my son in law's step father. We've relied upon the good Doctor to scan the night sky, visiting distant galaxies on our behalf, informing us of the exact arrival of each solstice to our backyard. The photo above is of the Richard D. Schwartz Observatory located at the the University of Missouri, Saint Louis, the academic home of Dr. S.
Today's solstice most likely marks Dick's celestial farewell. He's been in declining health for several years, fighting above his weight, far too long with science, technology, dignity, and smarts on his side, yet still the bad guys are winning. Having spent countless hours looking out into infinity, it's nearing time for Dick to learn whatever there is to learn from the perspective of the other side. Ever the teacher, with a little boy's wonder in his eyes and joy in his heart, I fully expect Dick will be reporting back with his new discoveries before we know it.
Remember, The Day the Earth Stood Still? The remake with Keanu Reeves.
Picture John Cleeves and his office, that's Dick Schwartz. Curious, dryly funny and fully engaged. I'm going to miss him a great deal.