The painting above shows Halley’s comet over the birthplace of Mark Twain in Florida, Missouri and over Stormfield in Redding, Connecticut where he died. It’s a composite painting. The comet makes its appearance every 75 – 76 years and was visible in 1835 when Twain was born and then again in 1910 when he died.
Mark Twain said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910) and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt, now there are these two unaccountable freaks that came in together, they must go out together.” Mark Twain, did come and go with Halley’s Comet.
It was a hundred years ago this week when Halley’s Comet was at its brightest and closest to the earth. It had appeared a few weeks earlier, at the last of April, and heralded the death of Mark Twain. The comet’s most recent visit was in 1986 and it was a puny show. I could barely see it with my binoculars. The astronomers had an explanation for its lackluster appearance, but I figured it had probably been extinguished when it was overshadowed by the brilliance of Mark Twain when he departed with it in 1910.
I was hoping the comet would usher in another great personality like Mark Twain when it appeared in 1986, but so far that doesn’t seem to have been the case. It’s unlikely the world will again see someone of his brilliance. The Almighty creates someone like that only once. I wish he was alive today to comment on the foolishness that goes on in the world. He would have a lot to write about.
As for me, I will just have to be content with rereading his works on the porch. It helps me laugh at what’s going on and ease the pain to some extent.