Darkness Falls

25 Apr

Some of you may have seen that Mauna Kea is in the news lately because of an ongoing attempt by protesters to stop the construction of the Thirty-Meter-Telescope. The issues in question can be found by searching the web carefully, but be careful to research thoroughly as there are many conflicting viewpoints out there. As an employee of one of the existing observatories on the summit, I have been counseled by admin to keep an open mind and be professional in the expression of my opinions. And so I have. This weeks story for Friday Fictioneers is based on my own photo prompt and speaks my mind quite clearly.

It is longer than normal by 58 words and for these I make no apology. I have been spot on for months and will be absent from the mix for some time to come so I hope you will tolerate my overage. If you do not want to read more than 100 words, you’d better stop 68 words ago.

Thanks to all who read on. See you down the road a bit. Aloha, D.


Darkness Falls

(Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

A mob is coming to destroy what might have been their salvation. They listen to reply, not to understand. They want to watch the world burn.

Mauna Kea is sacred. But not for the reasons they claim. The Universe unfolds, light dances eternally and the majesty of Nature gives not a tinker’s damn about man’s gods. The mountain was here long before they arrived, guided, ironically, by their elder’s knowledge of the stars. It will endure long after they are dust.

Mauna Kea is sacred. Unlike the mob, I have learned this through direct experience over five years of glorious sunsets, cold, clear nights and solitary dawns. Cloaked in false pride and righteousness, ignorance is on the march against the inexorable tide of knowledge.

I lock the doors and wait. Someplace has to be the backwater of science and education in the world. It might as well be Hawaii. This will be their legacy.

If you listen carefully you can hear the stars laughing.




To all my followers

51 Responses to “Darkness Falls”

  1. Sandra April 25, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    I just don’t know what to say. A magnificent piece, right from the heart, straight from the soul, and worrying me to death. I’m up to here with the mob mentality at the moment, so I have your back right now. Take care Doug, I’ll be thinking of you and waiting for you in the usual place, Wednesdays. Along with a whole bunch of others. x

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 8:52 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Please don’t confuse my story with my life, though the protesters are challenging my patience. I am fine, just under various guns of sorts vis a vis life. I shall return and will be reading your stories each week as they appear. You might even inspire me to attempt a story myself. I love you dearly. Thank you for being there.



  2. Suzanne Joshi (@PaSusan2) April 25, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    I agree with Sandra, Doug. Please take care. — Suzanne

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 8:59 am #

      Dear Suzanne,

      All is well, just busy here. i shall return. Thanks for the love.



  3. Dee April 25, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    Dear Doug
    A truly wonderful heartfelt piece of writing of which you should be very proud. I have been a follower since I joined this inspirational group, you and a few others have set the bar that I aspire to touch.

    I don’t know what to say to you save that if I could cross the ocean to give my support I would do so; in the meantime I will watch, hope and pray.

    I’ll be looking for you at our regular meeting place, in the queue with all the others. Take care Doug till we meet again.

    Dee x

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:03 am #

      Dear Dee,

      I am honored to call you friend and I thank you for your support. I shall return. Just draining the swamp in my life right now. Keep banging on your drum. I love your work and look forward to reading more of it.



  4. subroto April 25, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    I think what you articulate is the truth Doug, the pursuit of truth and knowledge trumps everything else. Years ago the ancients wrote a prayer in the Brihdaranyaka Upanisada which even an agnostic like me acknowledges.

    Om asato ma sadgamaya,
    tamaso ma jyotirgamaya,
    mrityorma amritamgamaya
    Om shantih shantih shantih

    From ignorance lead me to truth
    From darkness lead me to light
    From death lead me to immortality
    May there be Peace! Peace! Peace!

    • rgayer55 April 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:05 am #

      Dear Subroto,

      Thanks for turning me on to that wisdom filled prayer. I will reread it often and try to incorporate it into my life. You reinforce my thoughts and I appreciate that.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


  5. erinleary April 25, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Lovely, Doug. You are lucky to have such an intimate relationship with the mountain. It is a special place. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I hope your absence is for a good cause – wishing you well In your endeavors and see you when you return.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:08 am #

      Dear Erin,

      Thank you for you kind wishes and lovely comments. I plan to return, but for now have to deal with some things. Heading to a better place.



  6. rgayer55 April 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    I’m not sure many people listen to reply. In fact, I’m pretty sure they don’t listen at all, let alone listen to comprehend.

    Be well, my friend. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. See you on down the road.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:10 am #

      Dear Russell,

      As I’ve said before and no doubt will again, people make me pro-nuclear. I’ll get over it or I won’t. Either way I will see you down the road. Looking forward to it. Give my best to Connie and keep making us laugh.



  7. Tracey@WhatsforDinnerDoc.com April 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    Fair winds and following seas, my friend. You will be missed.
    Be well,

    • Tracey@WhatsforDinnerDoc.com April 25, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      Thank you for the photo prompt and your story. It seems from the other stories this week that I’m not the only Fictioneer who calls you friend. Several wanted to come visit you on the Big Island even skipping the beach to see the stars from Mauna Kea. Sandra thought you would be a good retirement home pal even if she did threatened to flush your dentures. And everyone, including me, savors your stories and your treasured comments.
      Thank you for the inspiration,
      A warm Aloha, the kind meant for Ohana

      • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:13 am #

        Dear Tracey,

        Mahalo nui loa for your kind comments and aloha. Keep writing your wonderful stories and I will check in with you each week. I’ll hide my dentures.



  8. Taygibay April 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Nightfall by Isaac Asimov??? Backing your job and fight entirely
    and unknowingly offering best wishes for the reason for absence,
    Peace, Tay.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:14 am #

      Dear Tay,

      Mahalo, my friend.



  9. Sarah Potter Writes April 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Dear Doug

    Who cares about word counts, when the words are so beautiful and heartfelt. More please, anytime 🙂 Hope you won’t be absent from Friday Fictioneers for too long.

    In my younger days, I belonged to an amateur astronomy society and helped build a telescope. Lucky you, working in that field.

    All best wishes

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:16 am #

      Dear Sarah,

      Thank you for your kind comments and expression of support. It keeps the inkwell filled and the words flowing.

      I have been fortunate to see what I’ve seen up here. The experience will stay with me forever.



  10. lizy April 25, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    I am only a recent follower but i wish you well and safe. Watching last night a programme about Hubble enlightened me a little about what you do. I look forward to reading more from you when the dust settles. As they say in Tenerife – Hasta luego.

  11. sustainabilitea April 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Safe travels, Doug, wherever they may be and may you come back safely to us and to your beautiful mountain and stars


    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:27 am #

      Dear Janet,

      Mahalo for the love. Just taking a break while I drain the swamp of my life and free the alligators.



  12. draliman April 25, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    A lovely, heartfelt piece. That looks like an amazing place to work.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:28 am #

      Dear Draliman,

      I have a lifetime worth of amazing memories from working up here. So fortunate in that regard. Thanks for reading and commenting.



  13. billgncs April 25, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    of all things, I think the search for knowledge of the stars does not defile. Fine piece.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:29 am #

      Dear Bill,

      Nice to see you here. I think you’re right and I hope it works out that way in the long run. It’s looking pretty grim here on the Big Island.



  14. elmowrites April 25, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    So many others have said left you beautiful comments, with which I concur. I hope the reason for your absence is a pleasant one – I am among those who will miss you – and that sense prevails on the mountain. You have shared such beautiful photos from there that I didn’t need to read the line about it being sacred. Your love for the place is clear.

    Enjoy your time away, and come back to us soon.


    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      Dear Jennifer,

      You are sweet. I am just under the gun, time wise and my request for more hours in the day has not been granted so…. I shall return. Yes, the mountain is sacred. I just wish people would stop trying to say it belongs to them just because they have been living on the island for a few hundred years. Humans have some serious issues and one of them is that they don’t realize that this sentence includes them. We need some evolution here.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I love you (In a writerly and strictly plutonic sort of way.)



  15. lingeringvisions by Dawn April 25, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    Wow. just wow.
    Thank you.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      Dear Dawn,

      No, thank you. I appreciate you reading and commenting.



  16. David Stewart April 25, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    I see I’m not the only one late in posting, so it’s an honor to be right after you in the list. This is a wonderful picture and a great story. I think the most telling line in this is “they listen to reply, not to understand.” That seems to be the way with so many debates, the people have blocked their ears ahead of time and just wait for a pause to continue their attack.
    Take care while you’re away. You’ll be missed.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:40 am #

      Dear David,

      Good to be in the queue next to you. People make me pro-nuclear and I do not have a good feeling about the future. Luckily, I won’t be around for it. The vocal minority here would have you believe they are the majority and hundreds of other lies. They have painted themselves into a corner by refusing to compromise and thus will find themselves without a seat at the table. Slow learners, i guess.

      Thanks for reading and commenting as always. I’ll slide on over and read your story tomorrow.



  17. milliethom April 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    A truly beautiful and heartfelt piece, Doug. Angry mobs know no bounds, and I can only hope that you will remain safe. Having so recently made your acquaintance, it seems you’ll soon be leaving. From comments above, it is clear just how much you’ll be missed, and how much you have meant to this writing community.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:42 am #

      Dear Millie,

      I’m not leaving, just will be maintaining a low profile for a bit. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading. Thanks for the kind words. I am fortunate to have made your acquaintance.



      • milliethom April 26, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

        Thank you for replying. Take great care.

  18. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 25, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    What a wonderful story, and I am already waiting for when you return again, I’m chilled to the bone of angry mobs. Sometimes it’s so easy to just be against something and follow the stream. I hope I will never be there with the mob.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Dear Bjorn,

      Humans are prone to mobs, aren’t they? I’m over it, but they are not. I shall return soon, but only after I take care of some business. See you in a bit.



  19. Amy Reese April 25, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Beautiful, Doug. A truly moving and haunting piece straight from the heart. It’s true what you say. Many just want to reply without listening. It saddens me that people insist in living in ignorance This wonderful place demands respect. I will be here next time, waiting for another marvel of a story. Be well wherever you are.

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      Dear Amy,

      You are right about the many who listen only to reply. If I could I’d move to Mars to be rid of them.

      Thanks for the kind words. Draining the swamp right now, making luggage of the alligators and will return soon.



  20. tedstrutz April 25, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    Aloha, Doug!

    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:47 am #

      Dear Ted,

      Want a telescope for your island? Only been used never…

      Thanks for saying hello.



  21. Ellespeth April 26, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    This mob mentality crap really bothers me. Your piece, this week, reads right from your heart.

    Bundle up up there, Doug. It looks mighty cold.


    • dmmacilroy April 26, 2015 at 9:49 am #

      Dear Ellespeth,

      Summer’s coming and the snow is melting. This island is prone to mob thinking. It’s a small mob but a mob just the same.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  22. Margaret April 27, 2015 at 11:41 am #

    Dear Doug,
    I’m going to miss reading your stories until you return. You are an inspiring writer, and I wish you well in your swamp-clearing. Be careful around those alligators. Thank you for the beautiful photo this week.

  23. ansumani April 27, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    Beautiful words. You have loaded this piece of writing with so much meaning and truth that it feels like 1058 words…Way over the limit 🙂

    “majesty of Nature gives not a tinker’s damn about man’s gods. ” I think of the earthquake in Nepal and how the ancient temples crumbled in a minute , trapping man’s gods. Scientists studied the earth and found ways to predict, monitor and prepare for nature’s extreme manifestations. The study of the stars is equally important.

    Good luck in slaying your mob of dragons/alligators . Your temporary absence will be missed as you always have the kindest words and the cheeriest ‘Alohas’ of the group.

    Take care,
    Padma ( Ansumani)

  24. singleworkingmomswm April 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    I wondered what you did that kept you so close to the stars. Oh, my, how magnificent a place to be! I can only imagine the experience-actually, I can’t even imagine-who am I kidding?!. The writing-beauty with melancholy and poignant with a touch of cynicism. The stars may be laughing, but I am not–not for the absence of your words and presence filling my in-box each week. Not for the “angry mobs” that use social media on a constant basis in today’s world; their own form of bullying-quite hypocritical these folks are in my small opinion. But, I do know that I’ve become hooked on Ironwoodwind, and therefore, will relish the anticipation of the next story to come down the road. In the meanwhile, may this bit of a break give you the time you need, and best wishes from the Central Coast of Cali. Thank YOU for sharing as you do. XOXO-Kasey

  25. ahtdoucette April 29, 2015 at 12:27 am #

    Aloha Doug,
    What a beautiful story and a tribute to the gods – both old and new. You are probably right that the stars are laughing at us. I guess we’ll never know, though, if we can’t see them. 😉 (Felt like it had to be said.) Thanks for your professionalism and for sharing a bit of your passion.

  26. Caely April 29, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    Dear D,

    Sorry for being absent on your comment field for so long, but better late than never, right?

    Each and every time I read any of your pieces of work, it astounds me of how much of a delight it is to read it. I absolutely love the way you convey everything (but you know that already).

    If the mob sets anything of fire, the ocean will fight back. That is a fact not even an angry mob can deny, regardless of their “logic and reasons”.
    And you don’t need to thank us readers, you know we’re over the moon for reading your work. Besides, there is no bottom of a heart as big as yours.

    Stay strong, as you always have.


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