We early risers often see the most amazing things, if only because of the accident of our wakefulness. In our house I sleep the least, often the last to bed and the first to rise, awake while everyone else dreams.
Hoping to make Ms. Carolyn, my lovely wife, a morning blaze in the fireplace earlier this week I noticed, as I stumbled to our dwindling woodpile, the sky above. A cold front had marched in overnight and scrubbed the air and there were more stars visible in the sky than I ever remember seeing here. Even though I was in shorts and t-shirt, freezing in the darkness, I stood for a long while looking up at the sky.
Our dogs Tag and Meg looked up at me, though not with any hint of puzzlement. Iâ€™m afraid theyâ€™ve become used to my odd behavior.
The sky above was crowded with stars: Orion looked like he had freckles. I felt, if only for that moment, as if I was looking through a telescope, for even the faintest stars were revealed. The Pleiades were having a well-attended party; beautiful Cassiopeia, reclining â€˜round the North Star, seemed clothed in diamonds. The sight of the sky so filled, coupled with the cold air, took my breath away. Iâ€™d have been embarrassed had anyone seen me gaping skyward that morning, but I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll forget standing there, in the cold, or what I saw above.
We live in such a wonderful place â€“ a place of true beauty. I often get used to these hills and often I am guilty of not noticing them. Itâ€™s easy to pass through, driving with your mind on hold, until everything seen through your carâ€™s windows becomes a blur, a strange collage of unnoticed mists.
I know poets warn of noticing things too closely â€“ Iâ€™m thinking it would be easy to be overwhelmed by this place weâ€™ve made our home â€“ but Iâ€™d dare you, Gentle Reader, to notice, if only for a moment this week, the gift we share here. Not a bad spot right here, as Pearl Bailey would sing. Not bad at all.