Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Upon Stars

All through the dusty, deckle-cut pages of time, the stars have fascinated those who wander over the earth. Man stares at them in wonderment, pondering his own insignificance. Stars light the great stag’s pathway, are reflected in the eyes of the snowy owl - they kindly acknowledge the wishes of children. Whether shooting or falling or hanging suspended up far, far above us in a sky of dark velvet, they are effortless and unknowable, belonging to the beautiful realm of grand mystery. But theirs is a circumspect beauty; they do not impose themselves where man has declared them irrelevant, rarely competing with the false glow of his cities. I found this out for myself one cold, still night on a hillside in England.

Having flown all the long night before, locked inside the musty air of a plane, we were bone tired, with muddled brains and eyes that were stinging from the lack of sleep. The bed we were snuggled inside ranked at the tiptop on our list of pure comfort - a fat, old four-poster, draped to perfection, it was a sublime confection of linen, feathers and down and we were sleeping the deep sleep of the grateful.
But, the moon woke me up.
Draping his light across my face like a grin, he obviously had a sight his wished to share, so insistent was he that I rise to greet him. How could I possibly refuse? Sliding out from my cocoon, padding across the patterned floor, I climbed up in the old window seat, wrenched open the casement window, and popped my sleepy head out into the chilly night air. In doing so, I entered a fairy-land I had supposed existed only within books.
Stars. Upon stars. Upon stars.
The midnight blue sky was totally covered in stars, as if the snowflakes had decided to defy the age old commandments of gravity itself and had defiantly blanketed the firmament. I held my breath, wondering if this indeed was but a dream. My soul, I could see the Milky Way! Crawling back inside momentarily, I whispered to The Songwriter to join me at the window, but he understandably muttered something about being more comfortable than he had ever been in his entire life and slipped back inside the soft arms of sleep. But, I remained at the window for ages and my imagination continues to happily feast upon that magical image, drawing the most delicious nourishment from the sight. I suppose it will do so forever.

It is a thing that my friends in the country know well, but I realized that night just but a taste of what man has obscured with his cities. As I sit in my garden and gaze up at the dark autumn sky, I now know what remains hidden, what wonder lies out there just beyond the artificial light of man.
It makes me smile.


54 comments:

  1. I think about this very subject quite often, Pamela! I can see so many more stars here on the island than I can back at my home in the city. We are only a few miles from sure, but the difference is tremendous. And when I'm out in the country, I make a point of taking nighttime walks--it's pure magic to look up and see infinite numbers of stars! It's so, so sad (and often unnecessary) that we obscure the night sky with city lights.

    Thanks for another beautiful post! xoxo

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  2. We love to star gaze at night!Last year when we had the snow, the sky had a million stars beaming down on the snow, it was awesome! I think people in the city never notice the moon, stars, sunsets, sunrise or the clouds! I love my journey with nature and animals! :)

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  3. Pamela, how beautiful! Your words transported me to my childhood when we huddled on the window seat, blankets tightly wrapped around us, staring at the beauty of the night sky. What dreams those stars inspired!

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  4. Here at Brabourne Farm we are far enough from the city lights to be able to enjoy the magnificence of the Milky Way and the millions of other wonderful stars - the night sky here is truly like diamonds on black velvet. That's my idea of heaven. Leigh

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  5. Hi Pamela,

    What beautiful writing.
    I too love gazing out the stairwell window at night and looking up at the magical stars in the sky.

    Have a great week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  6. I miss the moon and stars. Here is not good for them. The nearby Cascade Mountains are, and I hope that by next summer, I will be recovered enough to camp again. I loved the painting.

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  7. I also miss the stars. Yesterday I shocked myself by going out to the sea, watching it crash against black rocks and hurl it's salt scent into the air. The world around us gets so smudged sometimes, and it is good to see it stark and bare again.

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  8. Oh what a gorgeous picture. I love watching the stars! Your posts are always inspiring! suzie. x

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  9. Probably the thing I treasure most is the moon with the stars a close second. Of course living in the city outskirts, I rarely see them like you have described. I seem to be having a week where I long to live in the country and your post is just reinforcing that. Beautiful.

    Have a star filled week x Julie

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  10. I had that drop dead surprise myself at 7,000 feet after I'd moved to Oregon and I saw stardust for the first time walking home from the library. I stopped and stared for a long time and haven't really been the same since.

    Beautiful post.

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  11. It is those moments and gifts that imprint upon us forever!

    To see them reflected by the light of the ocean is magnificent too!

    And I soooo appreciate your description of the most comfortable bed in the universe after an international flight...Heaven on earth!

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  12. I am so glad you had the opportunity to experience the wonders of the universe. Do come down to the Southern Hemisphere and partake of the wonder of our milky way flanked by nebulas.
    I loved your prose...sheer perfection.

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  13. Compared to the city I have wonderful star-view here at my home...or so I think until I vacation in Maine and my breath is taken away when I see what the night sky really should look like...

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  14. I think of the man in the moon as my friend. I am a star of wonder type of gal too that thinks that sliding down the milky way is the only way to live. My son recently spoke of seeing a shooting star and knowing...a special girl was to enter his life...she has indeed, we are watching and waiting.

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  15. Yes man has surrounded himself in neon pollen keeping the magic of night at bay along with the long legged beasties.

    I loved reading Tom's Midnight Garden -the way time changed things and how the garden was seen both at night and during the day. As a child seeing the familiar either a garden or the beach by moonlight was magical.

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  16. When you wish upon a star
    makes no difference where you are
    When you wish upon a star
    Your dreams come true.

    Love all you share
    Love Jeanne

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  17. Having lived most of my life in the coastal areas of the pacific northwest, I was absolutely stunned by the stars our first night camping in the desert in New Mexico...almost 40 years ago and I've never forgotten how exquisite it was.

    Thanks for the reminder...

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  18. Your writing is amazing,wonderful!
    And that picture of you is so beautiful!

    Greet

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  19. Beautifully written. I waved to you at the window and almost expected you to wave back!

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  20. Being English and living in England, I see it all the time, Pamela...hehe.....actually, I think it's all to do with clear skies, the moon and a little bit of luck, and that's what you had that night.
    That was a beautiful post and so beautifully written. XXXX

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  21. Yes Pamela - if you happen to be far away from artificial lights then this can be magic. Sometimes we get it here on cold, clear frosty nights - the sky is so full of stars you just can't believe it. I hope you went back to that snuggly warm bed though.

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  22. i hate to bring the lofty level down,
    bit could you please help me reach for my stars and vote for me today?
    You only have 24 hours.
    Thanks so much!
    xo xo

    http://contests.apartmenttherapy.com/2009/color/main/faceoff/56

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  23. Beautifully written Pamela! And I love the picture you have to go with the post.
    I too am so in love with the starlit sky and feel so grateful to live where I do and to be able to see what you saw on that night very regularly.

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  24. Ah, an Autumn Moon! Wonderful photo and words!
    pve

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  25. We don't know..and do not remember how it's like to live in 'darkness'...this you can only find far far away from the city lights..Then you can be amazed and spellbound ....and make a wish upon a star..

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  26. So lovingly told, Pamela. Funny thing, I spent the weekend at a retreat farm, also bone-tired and weary. The skies were overcast and shades of gray all weekend. Last night, I slept with the curtain right next to my bed open. Sometime around 4 I woke up, looked outside and saw thousands of stars against a bright black night. It seemed unreal. Maybe it was. Because when I woke up at 6, the sky was overcast again and dull. But I'm grateful for my real (or imagined) moment of gorgeous skygazing -- and your post brought it all back in a flash!

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  27. Such beautiful prose and a gorgeous painting(?). Stargazing is one of the best things about getting away to the countryside... I can't help but be in awe!

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  28. you look so pretty sitting up in your star gazing perch.
    xx

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  29. I'm so thankful for stars!
    And for your smiling face too!
    Give your doggies a hug for me and Tanner.

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  30. I think this is one of the reasons I return to the south shore so often. I just need to gaze. It's very quiet where we live, but there is something very magical about a shore sky- like Gigi mentioned-there seems to be more stars near the sea

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  31. I get an ethereal tingle every time I look up into a clear night sky.

    Your pic looks like you are peering out from Willow Manor!

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  32. OH! What a lovely description of the night sky in the country!

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  33. what beautiful words ... just last night we wandered out into the dark night for a walk with our pooch and remarked at the beautiful stars glinting brightly in the sky. So different from the orange glow of our old city home. May you sit at that window and lose yourself in a fairy tale for many hours!

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  34. when we visited Dumfries recently we spent every evening by the river looking at the stars, the skies were so clear and we could see all the stars, I've never seen stars like that in this country and rarely in this hemisphere, though I got to know the southern skies very well the two years I lived in malawi. I am sad that we have lost the stars, I love the moon very much and she is so beautiful in the Edinburgh autumn but she must be so lonely without the stars...

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  35. Oooh love the ivy growin gon the architecture!!! I've enjoyed popping around your site looking at all the lovely art work... and Edward of course!
    ENJOY!

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  36. Although I live in a village we have light pollution too. If I drive in the country at night I sometimes stop in a lay-by to look up at the stars.
    I am wondering where in england hat feather bed and black sky was.

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  37. now..if you and edward had been with me a few nights ago you would again have been transported to a magical starry place....gazing until your neck ached at the infinate sparkling stars and the milky way all laid out before us....that night was unimaginably beautiful and we were totally awestruck when not one but two shooting stars lit up the skies....a night to remember always...xx

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  38. What a lovely piece of work. It made me homesick for the country.

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  39. So beautiful, Pamela. Makes me want to get in my car right now and drive up to the mountains and have a look. I still might be too close to the city though. Hmmm... I'm going to plan something...

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  40. Whenever we travel the night sky full of stars is one of our most cherished sights. The stars are seldom seen in the competition of New York City's 24 hours of bright light and they are sorely missed.

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  41. Magical Pamela....I am fortunate to live in the country and often take a 'star walk' after dinner. It is that moment when your eyes adjust to the night sky that is so wonderful, xv.

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  42. Beautiful.

    I realise I am very lucky to be able to see the night sky on a regular basis - I like to go out last thing with the dogs and just look. I also skywatch from my bed. It is so sad that town and city dwellers don't have this fundamental human experience.

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  43. hello Pamela,
    I have found a kindred spirit in that I also am fascinated by stars, planets and our wonderful moon. My two grown sons are never surprised when at 2am they get a text telling them to go outside and look up to catch the meteor shower or harvest moon or the rare closeness of a planet. I live in the country here in beautiful Virginia and my view of the heavens is clean and crystal clear every night. I am so lucky. I will be happily following your lovely blog and so glad I found you. Have a wonderful day...your friend, Janet

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  44. There is something about stars and a country sky. So magical. Beautiful writing. Love the moon's grin line:)

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  45. I love both of the images on the post – the view and the looker. You capture the wonder of stars so well. Magical post!

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  46. Hello P&E,

    Although we often can look upon a star-spangled night where we live, for me, the night skies of Africa offer the most marvelous sights; stars by the million. Truly wonderful.

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  47. I so love how you appreciate the little things and all of nature. It's as if you wake me up to recall past feelings. Such a lovely trip to read your beautiful words. Thanks for always providing a respite from life and for leaving kind messages on my blog. Xx

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  48. Ah, stargazing is bliss!... I love the photo of you here..The vine covered house is a dream!

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  49. A sweet wistful picture. I too enjoy being woken by the moon, sometimes shocked that is an actual moon that defied the dark night.

    I miss seeing night stars, it's been more than a decade, how can it be so?

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  50. somebody recently said something to the effect that if the stars only came out once in a hundred years, we'd all be out there all night gazing at them
    as it is
    they shine bravely each night
    while most people huddle around their TV [ the electronic campfire] instead.
    it's a fine habit, to go outside and say goodnight to the heavens each evening

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  51. What a lovely photo of you Pamela, looking all thoughtful and happy too. I love where we are for that reason alone, the night skies are amazing. We have few lights out here to spoil them. Wonderful wonderful.

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  52. Where were you, I wonder? This post sent a delicious shiver down my spine.

    Last night, we took seven 11 year olds trick or treating down a dark, wooded lane. There was a fullish moon, peeking in and out of the mist, but no stars to be seen. The thought of stars in cold, clear skies is thrilling!

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