Friday, August 20, 2010

Those Glorious Summer Nights

 After 9 p.m. on August 18 I carried my camera and tripod out to the backyard to enjoy the stars. For the past several nights, the moon had been shining in my south window and I couldn't avoid its attraction any longer.
 Even at this early hour, the stars had begun to punch through the afterglow of sunset. As I walked across the backyard, a small animal skittered away. A skunk, perhaps? We each went about our appointed task, not paying any further attention to one another.

 This is a view to the southwest where Venus rules the sky. How brilliant it is, able to compete already with the recent sunset. It commands the sky when it is present.

 And here, in the south, is the first quarter moon which has disturbed my sleep by casting long, white shadows through the curtains as it falls across my legs. How pretty it is there all alone in the sky. The craters jump out even to the naked eye. There is Tycho, just left of center at the bottom edge. At 12X, as this photo was taken, more craters begin to appear. They exceed my vision now.

 And here, if you look closely, is the moon above the pines at the rear of our property. What a majestic summer sight, when the air is still warm enough to linger, when hurry is not yet part of the vocabulary.
 I love standing there in the night air, listening to far off dogs bark and an occasional car thread its way along Clayton Road. I might hear an engine start and a neighbor leave even at this late hour. Why now? Why not to bed? Or why not to enjoy this very view?