Bright lights, big aliens in our midst?

So there we were lying in bed last Monday night when, to our amazement, we saw incredible flashing white lights off to the southwest of our home on Hollenbeck Avenue in Great Barrington. First, we thought it might be a lightning storm, but there was no thunder. The whole thing continued for about 10 minutes. Then someone sent me something saying that the same phenomenon had been observed in Pittsfield.

“There must be a logical explanation,” I thought. So I called those with the answer to all things, the Great Barrington Police Department. Atypically, they had not a clue. Then I sent my query to the email list-serve for our community and got one good answer back from a woman who was as perplexed as I was. She said that she saw it, too. Someone told me that some of the power companies were installing lights at the top of their towers, and I suppose that could have been it, too. On the other hand, why would the electric lighting company have been flashing their lights on and off?

Now let me tell you a related story. In Albany, N.Y., WAMC has an AM station that demands some upkeep, which one of our wonderful staff was performing when he ran over a beehive and was stung severely enough that he had to go the emergency room. It turns out that there were several different kinds of bee colonies. Of course, this meant war with the bees who were nesting in the ground. Too bad, I suppose that bees have rights, too.

Our various emporiums sell a lot of ant buttons and wasp and hornet spray and mousetraps.

The question, of course, is from the “what-if” category. I mean “what-if” in this instance WE are the ants, the mice, the rodents, the bees? Can’t happen, of course. I am sure that there is a logical explanation for all of this. Maybe it was lightning. Maybe it was the electrical company. Only nuts believe in extra-terrestrial life. Right? I mean you’d have to be a nut to believe that out of this vast universe of stars and planets and other universes with their stars and planets that this world is the only one that was created to support life. Or not!

Let me ask you a question: Do you believe that the human race is the final evolution and that we are, among all the stars and all the planets, the only life form? OK, I confess, I do not think that. Since we really don’t understand the extent of all the stars and all the planets and all the universes out there, we have no idea of who we really are and our place among the stars. We could, of course, be a molecule on the hair of a giant.

So, if aliens do come one day, and Roselle says that she hopes that she’ll be here to see it, who will they be? Will they be good people like Klaatu in “The Day the Earth Stood Still”? Maybe when they come, they’ll make slaves out of all of us — and maybe, just maybe, we will be herded together and fattened to please their palates. Maybe they’ll treat us as colonists and tax us, making us support their planet, far away.

If you think Barack Obama has problems now, just wait until he has to contend with a full-scale interplanetary invasion. If they come, will all our systems break down? Will we start to attack each other in a fight for the few meager supplies, food and housing that we have?

Maybe you’ll think of some of that the next time you kill a bee, a mouse, a skunk, a chipmunk or eat a cow. Maybe you’ll think of all of this the next time you see some unexplainable beautiful white lights flashing powerfully from a spot not too far away.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 8/6/11

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