Archive for May, 2012

May 6, 2012 |  by  |  No Comments

Late last night I walked out into the meadow to view the “perigee” moon, a Greek term to describe the point when an orbiting object like our moon is closest to Earth.  The true size of the moon did not change, but according to NASA, the moon was to appear 14% larger and 30% brighter as a result of orbiting so close (relatively speaking -we’re talking 221,567 miles away!) to earth.  I can’t say that I noticed a difference, but it was beautiful.  We are blessed with living enough in the country that artificial light doesn’t intrude upon our world.

My “moon gazing” reminded me of an early morning not long ago when I drove to a particularly remote area of farmland to view the Leonid Meteor shower.  It was 4:00 a.m. and I was barely awake, only vaguely aware that I had passed a darkened farmhouse moments before pulling off into a field.  I shut the car off, got out, and was immediately reminded that it was about 20 degrees outside.  I stood in awe of that vast, inky blackness.  As only cold can create, the stillness around me was incredible.  I thought, as I often do when looking at the stars, how incredible our planet is and how lonely we are in the universe.  A comet blazed a trail across the sky and I was delighted to hear, in quiet but expressive ways, the voices of the Pennsylvania German farmer and his wife, reacting in their language to the show that was unfolding.  My morning was spent much more in anticipation of what they would say next than in the comets above.

May 3, 2012 |  by  |  No Comments

Yesterday evening I was treated to a dusk fly over by a pair of Canada Geese.  The sky was a gorgeous shade of grey-blue and the moon and Venus were paired in the darkening sky.  Their wail reminded me of a wonderful experience two winters past.  One night in early February I could not sleep.  I was about to light the candle by my bed stand, but quickly realized that the moonlight was so bright that I would have no trouble navigating about Weather Hill.  I walked outside and into a frozen world, it was perhaps 2 a.m. and 15 degrees.  Decidedly one of those nights where it is quiet enough to hear the proverbial pin drop.  Before I reached the barn, I heard a very strange sound, incredibly faint.  So faint, it took me time to locate the direction from which it came – at least 35,000 feet above my head.  An enormous flock of Snow Geese, formed in a typical “V” pattern, heading north at an incredible altitude.

Every time I see geese flying  – geese of any type – I get chills.  What is it about them?  I often think of the many paintings and illustrations rendered by Sloane that include ducks or geese.  They seem somehow so steady, to transcend time, unmoved by fad or convenience.  Moving to an unseen rhythm – a peaceful inner cadence that none the less urges action and activity.   I like to think that Eric saw the same thing in geese that he saw in much of the early American.  Perhaps too narrow a comparison to draw, but a compelling one…