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16 January 2009

GR part 1: The story begins...



Night on the Galatic Railroad


So, class, as you can see, it looks like a river,
but it seems to be made of milk.

- Can anyone here tell me what gives it this white glow?

- Me! Me! Me! Me!

- Giovanni.

- Yes, sir.

- Tell me, Giovanni, if you see the galaxy through a telescope,
what is it made of?

- Giovanni was sleeping!

- He always does this.

- He was late this morning.

- All right then, Campanella.

- What's Campanella doing?

- What's with him?

- Maybe Campanella doesn't know, either.

- Then why's hejust standing there?

- He'd better say something soon!

- Did you see Giovanni this morning?

- He was playing with Campanella's dog.

Maybe Campanella's ignoring him, so a dog's the best he can do.

- All right. Sit down, both of you.
lf you were to look at our pale galaxy through a telescope,
you would be able to see that it is actually
a belt of stars.
Right, Giovanni?

Campanella kept quiet just so.

Giovanni wouldn't look stupid in front of the class.

But l knew it. Campanella and l both knew.
We had both looked at his father's galaxy atlas in the den of his house.
And if we extend the comparison further, all of these stars are like
little drops of oil,
floating in that sea of milk.

So if we were to look at this a little more literally,
the "water" of our metaphoric river is actually
the light which speeds...

Giovanni's so absent minded lately
because his father still hasn't come back yet.

- Really? But won't his dad be home soon?

- No way! He went out to capture otters in the North Sea.

- But it was an illegal trip, and they threw him in jail like a common criminal!
- Zanelli!

l was going to discuss the tremendous size of the galaxy
and the various types of stars in it,
but it seems that we're out of time for today.
We'll discuss all that in my next lecture.

The Festival of Stars is tonight.

- I encourage everyone to take part in the celebration.

Well, then, class dismissed!
Let's meet by the aspen trees at the school gate!
Your father brought this crab specimen back for us.
Hold it for me, would you?
Your father also brought back the antlers and those rare fossils in this display case here.

- So, have you heard from your father recently?

-No, sir.

- l see.

- Well, don't worry.

- Yes, sir.

- Tomorrow l have some errands to run on your side of town.
l'll probably stop by your house to say hello to your mother and see how she's doing.

- Goodbye, sir.

- Yes. Goodbye.

l think that your friends are planning to float lanterns on the river for the festival.

Yes, but l have to...

Yes. You have to work.
But... maybe if l do my work quickly,
l can go to the river and watch afterwards.

You do that.

Yes, sir!

Yeah! l know how to make them!

Where should we meet?

Under the bridge!

Let's use blue candles!
lt'll be easy! My father showed me how to do it!

- Then you're in charge.

- But do it before the Festival.

We can start at Campanella's and walk to the town commons!

- Can l bring my little sister?

- Sure, but only if she keeps quiet.

l can't lose my ticket. lf l did that...
...l wouldn't be able to board the train.

Hi, Mom. l'm home.
How are you feeling?

ls that you, Giovanni?
l'm glad you're home.
l felt much better today.

The weather was so cool.

l got some sugar to put in your milk.
l thought you'd like that.
When did Sis get home?

Around o'clock. She did the housework for me.

Hey, Mom, didn't they deliver the milk today?

lsn't it on the counter?

l'll go outside and get it for you.

No, go ahead and eat.

l'll have something later.

Your sister made some tomato soup.
lt should be on the table.

Okay. l'll have a little then.

Say, Mom... l feel like...
l feel like Father's going to be back soon.
Don't you think so, Mom?

Yes. l think you're right.
This morning l read some of the papers l was delivering.
They said the fishing was really good in the north this year.
Well, your father might not have gone fishing.

Of course he did.
He wouldn't have done anything illegal.

You know that he isn't like that, Mother.
All those times before he brought back neat things for the school,
like that giant crab shell,
and the reindeer antlers.
The school still has them on display.
Do you know that, Mother?

Your father promised to bring you an otter-skin coat, didn't he?

The kids at school say that they're always making fun of me.

Are they bullying you?

Not Campanella. He doesn't bother me at all.

Campanella's father and your father have been friends since they were very young.
Father used to take me over to Campanella's house to play sometimes.
That was so much fun.
You know Campanella has a wonderful toy steam train that runs on alcohol.

lsn't the Festival of Stars tonight?

Yeah. l'm going to the festival after l go out to get your milk from the dairy.

Good. l'm glad you're going.
But don't go near the river.

I'll watch from the shore.
l'll be back in an hour or so.

Take your time.

l won't worry if you're going to be with Campanella. Aren't you?

Yes, l'll be with him.
See you.

lt might actually be an hour and a half.
Have fun.

Some people see the galaxy as a giant river of milk
and all of these stars are like
drops of oil floating in that sea of milk.
Here, where we live, exist as the stars do.
Our sun and the Earth itself float within this sea.

You could even say that we all live in the waters of the river of heaven.

- The Centaurus Festival!

- Centaurus Festival!

Every light up there in that glowing band is actually a star.

*

Continue : Swan Station

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