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Starry Starry Nights

Country at HeartOne thing I like about living in the country is that I can enjoy the beauty of the night for as long as I wanted. Of course, I didn't go out and gaze at the stars every night, but whenever I wanted to, I could "star gaze" as often as I wanted and for as long as I wanted. I “star-gazed” quite often.

I like the time of year when the stars are most visible. During that season, we stood out in the yard and gazed at the vast heavens, dotted with small, twinkling lights. Even as young as we were, we knew about the "Big Dipper" and traced its outline with our fingers as though we were drawing it on paper. When we did, that heavenly “cup” seemed very small to us, even though it is, only God knows, how many millions of miles away.

Now, for this one you definitely have to live in the country to see. Some call it a "shooting" star, but we called this phenomenon a "falling" star. Every once in a while, when we'd stand outside, we'd see what looked like a part of a star break off and fall toward the earth. That may not be what happens, but that's the way it looks.

It is so exciting to watch the skies while looking for a “falling star.” Sometimes, though, you have to wait a long time, and you may not catch one that night. Actually, it may be many moons before you see the next one. But the fun is in waiting. And sometimes, a “falling” star would catch us off guard. That was the most exciting time - when a star “fell” and we were not expecting it. Whoever saw it first, screamed for the other star-gazers to look up so we could make a wish.” You know that expression, “wish upon a star.”

The night skies are filled with stars, but it appears that the northeastern corner of the heavens has a larger “settlement” of stars than any other part of the vast "skyverse."

In the city, only occasionally do I see stars, other than the Eastern Star. This star outshines them all. Even on brightly lit city nights, I can see this star very clearly. I call this bright, shining star the "Eastern" star. It is the heavenly constellation that some believe led the Wise Men from the East to the baby Jesus. It still shines as brightly as it ever has.

Most of all, I enjoyed seeing the "Milky” Way. I just loved staring at that long, seemingly, endless string of tiny, white lights. I know it's just my imagination, but if I stared long enough, the stars seemed to twinkle, though I'm sure they didn't.

In the country, there are no residual lights to interfere with the clear, vivid shining of the other stars. The heavens are their backdrop, and the stars hang against that wall with the elegance and beauty of small, white diamonds, glistening in their splendor.

starry night | iStockphoto.com/shaunnessey 

Photo: iStockphoto.com/shaunnessey