Saturday, January 11, 2014

Vega, V-Words...and Ultrarunning

Several days ago while sitting out in the hot tub shortly after sundown, I was struck by a prominent star that I did not know, high in the midwinter western sky, one of the very first stars visible as daylight faded.

[image credit Earth Sky, here]

I soon looked it up on my iPhone using the wonderful app Sky Guide (I have no financial interest in either iPhone or Sky Guide, I'm just a happy user).  In Sky Guide you just hold the phone up and the display orients itself in the direction you are holding.  Then you just tap on the on-screen object you are looking at (star, planet, comet) to get the data on it.

Turns out this cool star is Vega, which according to EarthSky, here, is quite the major star:

Vega is easily recognizable for its brilliance and blue-white color. Vega is the 5th brightest star visible from Earth, and the 3rd brightest easily visible from mid-northern latitudes, after Sirius and Arcturus. At about 25 light-years in distance, it is the 6th closest of all the bright stars.   
Vega’s constellation Lyra is said to be the harp played by the legendary Greek musician Orpheus. It’s said that when Orpheus played this harp, neither god nor moral could turn away. Vega is sometimes called the Harp Star.

Enough astronomy.  The star Vega creates for me a segue into the overarching category of words that start with the letter V.  For some reason I am utterly fascinated with words that begin with V (and to head this off at the pass right up front, no, I'm not talking about that word...this is a completely non-sexual discussion). 

I've loved V-words since I learned to read. Maybe it's my German heritage that's responsible for me loving the guttural sound of V.  Maybe it's my love of simple objects: a letter doesn't get much simpler and practical than that: two quick strokes, capital and lower case alike.  Or maybe it's the fact that to my mind, V-words create a visceral, almost palpable feeling.

Check out this short list of a few of my favs, in no particular order, and see if you don't agree:


And the link, of course to Ultrarunning is one I have made numerous times here: it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to have the ability to run VAST distances, 50 or a hundred miles in one chunk, distances that boggle the mind.  Why?  Because doing so--going to the edge, physically and mentally, takes me to places in myself that I would otherwise never know.

That's why I run vast distances.


No comments:

Post a Comment