The stars come out at night…. flashing, mysterious lights to observe in the cold crisp air of a Northern Winter. They hang like lanterns, huge and low in the space above. I go out in the darkness of night to look towards their beauty.
The never-ending wind piles drifts of pure white, untouched snow against even the tall weeds in the open fields or around frozen sloughs lined with trees. The animal tracks are easy to see in the daylight and we learn to recognize them – a bear, a wolf, a rabbit or a weasel. I imagine I am a tracker and follow them. I rarely find an animal. Tracks disappear in drifts of snow.
Sometimes the night is as bright as the day. I lay down and stare at the skies with awe and wonder. I see God these times. There is a feeling that invades when I study the heavens. If I am alone – I do not feel alone or lonely. There is no fear of being alone as the banks of piled snow right to the horizons are empty of any threat. But the dome covering me, speaks to me as clearly as though someone is with me.
There are times I lay on the hard snow with a sibling. We stare at the stars, some huge and bright, some flickering as though the winds, always blowing, reach right into space, trying to blow them out. We gladly share our knowledge as we spot immediately the big and little dippers. Then we start challenging – where’s Cassiopeia or Orion’s belt. Do you see… The sky is a wonderful sight those nights it is clear. The frost from our breath comes out in puffs of foggy white. We are not aware we are nearly frozen, so fascinating is the sky.
We are reluctant to go back inside. We wait for the Northern Lights. Sometimes we are blessed with the sight of dancing lights. It is magical – even knowing it’s the sun reflecting off the earth in the north doesn’t change the intrigue.
We know that it might be ages before such a clear night is given to us. Many nights, sometimes weeks are filled with blustery sleet and heavy winds of gusting snow. Many nights the sky is hidden from us.
Reality come back, sometimes in the form of our mother calling us in. We know our choice is to fall asleep in the snow and freeze to death or go inside. Reality is sometimes harsh. But it brings us back from drifting away in thought. We do what we must, not what we want to.
I will always be thankful for the nights I am offered the most delightful ways the skies display themselves on an icy clear night.