Bandung to Bali i – Stars and Satellites – 3 January 1973

Matt, Johnny and Me 1973

Matt points out a satellite overhead as we lie outside on the hot night before my 4th brother arrives!

1973 begins with the birth of my fourth brother.

It is so hot the night before he arrives we lie outside on the back lawn with mum. Her belly swells in line with the curve of the Dandenongs which fade and float into a dusky yellow sky.

Dry grass pricks at us through the tartan ground sheet – but this is still better than the heat inside. Even insects are too tired to move. Beetles and crickets brip and pirip dryly in the thin lawn.

We stare sleepless into the velvet blue canopy over our beds. Stars appear and I pick out the Saucepan and the Southern Cross as it tips down over the rooftop. The Seven Sisters start to dance and blink lightly above Bald Hill.

“There’s one,” says Matt. I squint to follow his finger as it traces a line in the dark. “A satellite.”

“How can you tell?” I can just pick out the faintest speck of light moving overhead.

“Trajectory.” says Tony.

Johnny squirms and kicks beside me. His head is hot with sweat.

“Oh, mmm,” he hums with the moths as they bat their dusty wings against the verandah light.

“See,” says Matt, “It goes at the same speed right across the sky – not like a shooting star – but it’s still going super fast.”



From Bandung to Bali – starting at the beginning – a catch up diary about a true story from 1973 with speed drawings

by Chas Spain.  

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