Many Messages in the Stars

A story about the 91st Toronto Scout Troop

As told by Scouter Warner Clarke, June 2000

The 91st Toronto Scout Troop went on an overnight hike one fine spring weekend. That night, the Scouts ate a fine meal of pita pizza pockets cooked in the fire. After supper, they had a spirited game of capture the glow stick, followed by a camp fire, hot chocolate, and toasted marshmallows. By 23:30, the Scouts (and Scouters) were exhausted and climbed into their tents.

Several hours later, the Scouter George left his tent to visit the kybo and on his return went over to where one of the patrols was sleeping. He nudged the Patrol Leader and said, "John, Look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

John replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."

Scouter George asked, "And what does that tell you?"

John pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets."

"Uh-huh," said Scouter George.

Another Scout, David, was awake by now and piped up "Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in the constellation Ursa Major and that the moon, which was so bright during our capture the glow stick game has now set."

"Yes, good, that's correct," said the Scouter. "Anything else?"

Matt murmured, "Chronologically, if I look at an imaginary line between the north star and the end of the Big Dipper as if it were the hour hand of a clock, I can take that number and add it to the number of months and fractions of months which have passed since the beginning of the year, multiply it by two and subtract it from the number of weeks in a year, to come up with an approximate time, which would appear to be 02:00 standard or 03:00 daylight savings time."

"Excellent observation and calculation, Matt. Does anyone else have anything to say?" asked Scouter George.

Tom, the Assistant Patrol Leader, offered, "Theologically, I can see that God has made a beautiful universe and that compared to it, we are small and insignificant. Spiritually, it gives one pause to think, don't you agree?"

"Ah yes, Tom, it does indeed," replied Scouter George. "Anything else?"

Elek rose from his sleeping bag and put his finger in the air to determine the direction of the breeze and turned so his back was towards the wind. "Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. The sky is clear. Because the wind appears to be coming from the south, Buys Ballot's Law would indicate that we would have a high pressure system in the west. This is consistent with weather reports I looked at before the camp."

"Very good, very good!" said George.

John addressed Scouter George, "So what does the sky tell you?"

The Scouter George was silent for a minute, then spoke. "You know these are all excellent answers. However, you seeing the sky tells me that someone has stolen your tent!"