In the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, even the plants entreat us to look to the stars. Earlier this year, about the time a survey team I was in discovered its first CCD comet (a faint 19th-magnitude speck named Jarnac), my agave americana
plant began to produce a stalk.
I first noticed its skinny peak as it nudged above the tall surrounding leaves. With each passing day, it grew several inches, climbing and
climbing until now it soars dozens of feet above the ground, always striving for the boundless heavens. It's a thrill to pass it each night, its sheer size always a pleasure to behold.