Tuesday evening was a crisp, clear night. I headed out into the woods with a friend for an evening ski and we gazed up at the Milky Way, where we were awestruck by the night sky. We had just had a conversation about entering 2020 and how futuristic it sounded, how the future of sky travel and hovering vehicles, robotic wars, automation of jobs, cities in the sky seemed possible. We pondered what the future will hold for our kids who live to see man missions to Mars and lunar tourism and robotics take on menial work.
Then almost on cue, a string of satellites in perfect alignment and cadence began scrolling across the sky below Pleiades. Each celestial body was perfectly spaced moving in tandem in the same orbit. We counted over 20, a seemingly endless string of satellites, and got spooked. Were these space defense systems? Where these surveillance satellites? Whatever they were, we felt the future had arrived. Our beautiful view of the constellations, obstructed by orbiting vessels in space. Intriguing in their own right, but a bit ominous and eerie.
What we saw was Space X Starlink satellites, a new series of 60 telecommunications satellites, adding to 60 already in orbit, to connect rural and remote areas of the earth via satellite to create internet and mobile device connectivity across the globe. Space X is among many corporations racing to compete for the sky and intends to launch 24 more missions in 2020 with their multiple-use rockets. Soon there will thousands of these orbiting toaster boxes trailing the night skies. Children born in 2020 will know no other sky than one with whizzing lights in orbit overhead.
It truly is a brave new world, but as I look more closely and reflect on Twisp this past year, I am comforted with the familiar patterns and predictable comfort of life in small mountain town. The Fly-in Breakfast, dinners at the Eagles Hall, senior lunches, summer swim meets, floats down the river, concerts at the Community Center, story time at the library, not much seems to change.
The year did offer some reflections and events I neglected to report upon, and one thing that doesn’t seem to change is the hard work and dedication of the people of the place that makes me proud to call Twisp home. For example, the hard work of the board and Kirstin Ostlie, the general manager at the Community Center registered and received 501(c)(3) status, which means they can now receive tax-free donations. Also, the jewelry collective at TwispWorks is another example of collaboration instead of competition that makes me feel proud to live here. In fact, all the artistic energy at TwispWorks and throughout town continues to create a culture of art and inspiration that is truly unique to Twisp. What a gem to have this in the heart of town. The coming year will start off strong with “The Wizard of Oz” occupying space in the Community Center.