Thursday, January 2, 2020

Look at the Stars

A fairy ring in our yard
Some time ago our nephew, who lives in a city, visited our farm with his family.  They had come for the day and had meant to get  home before dark, but they stepped out our door just at that magical time when the sky is a deep velvet blue but not completely dark.  The stars truly were like diamonds in that deep blue sky.  Yet, it was simply that time of evening when, if we bother to look up and the night isn't cloudy, anyone who lives in the country can see such a sky.

In a voice filled with awe, our nephew said, "Look at the stars."

A garden spider's web
The rest of his family looked up, and someone may have said, "Yes, pretty" as they hurried toward their car, anxious to be on their way.

I have never forgotten the wonder in his voice as he saw stars usually obliterated by the city lights where he lived.  He was young enough that those stars seemed like a miracle.  

Living in the country, after spending our adult lives in urban environments, we appreciate the magnificent sunsets and sunrises we see most days.  Recently we experienced the most incredible double rainbow that reached nearly to the ground at both ends.  It cast a spell on both of us that made us unable to walk away from something so very beautiful.

Cicada exuviae on an iris leaf
Imagine what our ancestors must have seen as settlers on the open prairie.  Isaac writes in his journal about watching an eclipse from a rooftop he was shingling.  He describes, almost poetically, the first tornado he watched, dipping down from the clouds and raising a cloud of dirt before pulling back into the cloud from which it had dropped.  He admits his dislike of walking at night during a lightning display, although in fair weather he walked under moonlight and starlight regularly.  

After living in large cities, we bought acreage when we moved to Texas, and we built a home miles from the city, but we could not enjoy the blue-velvet sky we now see at our farm.  Even in the deep of night the lights from the city and the businesses along the interstate had bleached the sky over our Texas country home, to say nothing of the constant rumbling of the trucks on the interstate several miles away.  One night I set the alarm to awaken in the middle of the night to watch the spectacular meteor shower predicted for our location.  I lay in our driveway and looked to the northeast where the meteors were said to be most prevalent, and I saw a few faint drifting dots during the half-hour or so I watched, but the urban lights faded nature's meteor display and, disappointed, I returned to bed.

A wing more delicate than leaded glass
The first entry every day that Isaac made in his journal was weather.  Most of his day was spent out-of-doors, and even indoors weather intruded with the cold winds of winter and the blistering heat of summer.  Yet, Isaac's journal contains few complaints about the weather, except for truly extreme temperatures.  Rather, he writes more about the pleasures of crooking frogs at evening and the return of song birds in spring.

For many of us, weather is something to hurry through on our way between an air-conditioned car and an air-conditioned building, or its opposite, rushing through winter's chill between our centrally heated houses and seat-warmed cars.  Like our nephew, suddenly seeing the stars that are always over his head but are obscured by city lights, all of us are guilty of ignoging the beauty nature offers us constantly, and we obliterate her offerings with lights, earphones, and indoor comforts and entertainments.  

Living at the farm has reawakened my notice of the small everyday things I have included in this blog--things that Isaac Werner cherished in his daily life--and I feel very lucky. 

Remember, you can enlarge the images by clicking on them.

1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

Lovely photos and yes we need to stop and eat the roses as Larson put it.
Waste light from cities and towns is a major problem. Attempts are made to reduce it but to no avail so far.
Have you ever downloaded the map of the earth taken at night from satellites? If you get the highest resolution you can pick out towns of 500 to 1000 people.