Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Encounter Over Rio

I clearly remember the night of April 25, 2010. I had finished the dishes and put away the food. It was nearly 11:00.  I went out on the veranda of a house in Jardim Botanica, as I did on most warm nights to breathe in the cooler air. The stars and planets seem much closer in Rio. The heavenly sight always stirred me in a way as to make me sleepy. On that particular night the moon was 93% full gibbeous and huge lights shone over Christo's base and washed across the Corcavado. 

But on this night, two red lights blinked against the clear black sky. The brightness of the lights were much the same in scale and distance as Venus. They were high above and I had to crane my neck. They were certainly not aircraft. They were stationary, not darting around or zooming here and there.  But they blinked.

Below these lights I saw a new array of blinking white lights going in a circle under the initial blinking red lights. Then they began to whirl around like a sparkler in a fireworks display. I called to my girlfriend to come out to the  veranda. She had lived in the house for nearly 30 years and often star watched from here. She confirmed what I was seeing and she broke out laughing and calling her friends on the phone. 

Just then the lights began to criss-cross and turn more rapidly in a circle. This was followed by three more blue\white lights appearing below the red lights. The earlier white lights now blinked furiously. Then this display was followed by stationary white lights appearing one …two…three…four…five….all the way down to nine… at the end of a chain. The entire formation was in a straight line and neither moved laterally nor vertically. By now it was evident we were watching something beyond human.
We stood on the veranda breathless and enchanted, in awe and aware of something marvelous. We dared not take our eyes away. At 11:10, the white light on the very bottom of the cosmic neckless went dark. Then one by one each of the white lights slowly went dark from bottom to top. The white circling fireworks stopped. Each of The  rapidly blinking red and white lights went out, and finally only two, the original red lights remained. Then they, too, went dark.

Then it was over. 

Later we scoured the Internet to see if there were any other sightings around Rio -- and there are hundreds of new sitings each week in Brazil -- but nothing similar to what we had encountered. We looked for news reports. We had seen something inexplicable, and the impact was eerie. We needed confirmation.

Over the next week there was a meteor shower from the Pleiades but this display was feckless, distant and cold compared to what we had seen.

Ironically, it was on April 25 that Stephen Hawking’s documentary on alien life appeared on television. He discounted the idea that we will one day make contact with aliens. He said that a superior life form would simply not recognize us as anything but inferior life forms. Or worse, they might think we were a food source.

Also, that day,Arthur C. Clark was quoted as saying that making contact with aliens would be made more difficult for us because their advanced technology would be so superior that we could not possibly perceive their advanced technology as anything  "indistinguishable from magic".

And magic it was.

This video was taken in 2012 in Brazil and bears a sriking resemblance to our siting.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Crespucolo was introduced to me at the beach. The word is used as a term describing the time after sunset and just before twilight. It is a time when the sun leaves the day to the evening. The sky reflects its light on the plazas, porticos and the still waters off the beach. And so much more.

 I also like to think of crespucolo as an attitude that is singularly carioca. The concept itself is something learned over a lifetime. It is like a persistent errant trickster who flaunts the rules and someone who cannot keep promises. 

There are people who are ardent watchers of crespucolo. They watch it unfold and yield its secret across a pallet rich in yellow, gold and pink purple sky, with a flash of indigo and red for the Carnaval effect. Each scene is a unique brush stroke within a delicate touch. There is nothing habitual or learned or sponsored.There is never any hurry.

I watch and wrap my feet in the sand, still warm. I let a cold wave wash the feet that brought me here. I start to leave and am told I am going too soon. I am pulled back by a hand. She shakes her head and tells me it would be a pity to leave so early. I would miss the final act and the encore. It is never the same.

There is something to be said about the waiting in anticipation and pausing for a final glimpse of the day. True to its promise I was surprised. I allowed myself to enjoy the significance of being a watcher, and now I am a temporary member of a club of people who strive to bring richer values to the canvas of life.

The scene continues to play out through the stages. I hear secondary sounds emerging from the night. I long for another moment like the last, but it is gone. I will come back someday with a strong sense that I have been away too long.