Jack Borden, a former WBZ-TV newsman, has spent the last three decades on a singular mission: getting people to look beyond their daily lives and upward at the sky.
Looking up sounds like such a simple thing, but Borden knew from his own experience, few did it. While lying in a meadow one day at age 49, he saw the sky “as if for the first time in my entire life.” Inspired by that awe, he quit television to bring sky awareness to the nation — including elementary schools, prisons, and nursing facilities, and to the homebound.
Today when so many of us are homebound, the National Day Calendar has proclaimed April 14 the inaugural Look Up at the Sky Day. In honor of Borden’s 92nd birthday, we are urged to appreciate the beauty above, study the clouds, and to search the evening sky for constellations, planets, meteor showers, and falling stars. Findings can be shared on social media using the #LookUpAtTheSkyDay hashtag.
Want to play sky bingo? A downloadable form is provided at nationaldaycalendar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Sky-Bingo.pdf Or for a deeper effect, try keeping a sky journal for 21 consecutive days. It might just change your life.
Borden challenged me to keep a sky journal seven years ago, and I went from being utterly sky oblivious to a devotee. As Borden had promised, something clicked after 21 days. Scanning the clouds and stars became a habit of mine, a necessity. Ralph Waldo Emerson called the sky “the daily bread of the eyes.” It nourished.
Borden is a master promoter. The nonprofit he founded, For Spacious Skies, has drawn support over the years from national experts in astronomy, philosophy, weather, art, and the environment. Its mission has been covered by the Globe, The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Smithsonian magazine, among others.
After his wife passed away last year, Borden moved into Youville Place assisted living in Lexington. He’s formed a sky awareness club there and will try to get about 70 of his community friends and neighbors to look up at the sky Tuesday and record their sightings on social media.
While he’s honored Look Up at the Sky Day has been set on his birthday, “I care very little about getting the credit,” Borden says, “as long as I see people looking at the sky.”