It's not there to be seen at the moment, it's crimson brilliance hidden away until it next approaches opposition in a year or so's time. Jupiter entertains all night, Venus glitters in the frozen mornings and soon Saturn will be shaking off his duvet just before the dawn.
But not planet Mars, not for now.
And in some ways, this suits me fine.
To see Mars, late at night, in silence, on your own, is to be reminded
of the tentacled terrors that we know DON'T, but REALLY DO, wait for
their chance to cross the gulf of space between us and devour our living
blood. I go inside after observing Mars, and every hanging coat, every
shadow, every shadow cast by a streetlight, becomes an animate creature
of terrifying, horrifying, scareifying Martian origin waiting to put a
clawed finger on your shoulder the moment your eyes close.
You wake in Sleep Paralysis, and just beyond your frozen visual
periphary, an upright bipedal grey martian prepares his probes and
samplers for journeys into unmentionable parts. They control the
horizontal, they control the vertical. They control the speed with which
they open up your stomach and eat your intestines while you watch.
Observing with a telescope at 2am, as I have done, is worse. The green
flash of launching cylinders is an imagined nightmare only a heartbeat
away, the collapse of civilization under piles of mouldering, mutating
I shiver with fear every time I look at it. I bet many of you do too, as
you stand alone surrounded my menacing whispering trees. But we all
come back for more to see the God of War gaze contemptuously down at us,
seeding our mind with fears...