Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Standing in a Field at Midnight


Yesterday, at the first hint of daylight, we stepped outside together, Buddy and I, and as I waited for him on the porch, breathing in the icy morning air and listening to the crows calling from the field, it felt as though it could be the very first morning anywhere. Perhaps this primordial feeling of leaning toward the light was due to the evening before, Christmas Eve.

I had more or less settled in for the night and was already in my robe when a friend called. I mentioned that the blues were trying to find their way in and I was thinking of going to bed. Knowing that was no way to turn in for the night, he talked with me for a few minutes, then suggested I get dressed and take a walk under the night sky, shake off whatever it was that was starting to feel heavy. I had to admit, it sounded like the perfect remedy. With a promise that I would let him know when I'd arrived back at the house safe and sound, I got dressed, bundled up against the cold December night, and down the driveway I went.

As I got closer to the road, the sounds of the river came rushing in along with the peace that had earlier eluded me. I stood above its banks, listening to it move around the little island in the middle, past the elbow where wildflowers bloom in the spring and early summer, down to the bridge below. The lights on the barn at the farm across the river cast a soft orange glow on the water and the ice. 

I walked a little further down the road, between the river and the field, keeping to the edge where the tree's shadows were dark and dense, yet even the bits of remaining leaves, still clinging to the ends of their long, slender branches, were clearly defined. It was as though the trees had lain down on the shoulder of the road to take their rest. I stood there, watching their shadows sleep. Then, I turned towards the field behind me and looked up.

A few million stars had quietly congregated in the night sky. For several minutes I watched them while a three-quarter moon looked down on the snow covered field where I stood. I could feel myself being replenished by the night, by the moon, the stars, and the river. Perhaps that moment could have become more perfect, but I really don't see how.

After a few more minutes, I walked back to the house, cold chin tucked into my collar, thinking how easy it would be to simply walk into the next universe, the one where everything is waiting.




Image from NASA

52 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking me along on your midnight walk. I enjoyed it very much.

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    1. I've always found the night sky to be a good remedy for what ails ya. :)

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  2. It'll do it to you. I'd like to enter that other world too.

    As a side note-a friend told me the story how he was driving with this young lady at night out in the middle of nowhere and they stopped. There was no moon and this young person being from an urban area had never seen a sky like she did that night. It affected her so much she got back in the car and curled up in a ball on the floor.

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    1. As you said, OF, "It'll do it to you." That first moment of recognition can be unsettling. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  3. You can't have the blues under a sky like that.

    Connectivity issues all last week, so please accept my late Christmas wishes, Teresa: all of the very best to you, my rural friend. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. You are so right, Pearl. So glad you're holding down the city front. Thank you.

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  4. You are so right. Nothing effects me quite like looking on a busy-lit night sky, always giving me the feeling of security that "All's right in God's world" and that wonder of mystery that come some day....

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    1. The mystery of it all holds me in a state of wonder, and the night sky always makes me feel better. I hope you had a good Christmas, Sissy.

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  5. Stillness & Light.Perfect ! X

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    1. They are a beautiful and powerful combination. Thanks, Tony.

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  6. "I go out walkin' after midnight." :)

    Somehow the night skies take me down to that itty bitty minuscule thing that I am while letting me know that I indeed belong as a part of it all.

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    1. Patsy's songs always make good company... and, I agree, it's both humbling and affirming. Thanks, RJ.

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  7. Sometimes wjhen I do this I feel I am the only one enjoying this moment, but then hear a car or train in the distance.A lovely walk to share and I hope a remedy to help bring in the holiday.I was blessed with friends showing up and preparing a 7 course feast for them.It is 2 here this morning, I am headed out in a bit.

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    1. Steve, This was a very still night, perhaps because it was so late and Christmas Eve. I'm glad to hear of your Christmas company. It is a cold morning, but warming. Thank you for commenting.

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  8. what a wonderful feeling I have after reading your post about the night sky, thanks for that we don't do much star gazing here but at our last home we could see the stars clearly every night and it was truly magical. I must remember do more of that here.

    happy holidays to you.

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    1. Wouldn't it be hard to live where there's so much ambient light that the stars themselves were hard to see? May you see a star-filled sky soon!

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    1. ME, It's so good to hear from you. I trust your holidays are Merry and Bright. :)

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  10. There can be no better way for beating down the blues, can there? Just to be breathing in the night air and all that there is "out there" can freshen the soul. I so loved your little night journey, Teresa.

    I did want to tell you that I used the poem Ode to Hardware Stores by Barbara Hamby that you posted some time ago for a montage I did for Tom for a Christmas gift, using sepia tones of old tools, and even finding an old, wooden cooper's measure with that feel of used knowledge as part of the gift. The poem was a remarkable springboard for Tom's gift, which he loved beyond, dare I say it, measure? We don't always hear about our posts and how they influence us, Teresa, so I wanted to tell you here of how Let's Hear it for the Amen Corner influenced me. Thank you!

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    1. Penny, I'm so glad to hear that your gift idea worked out for you, and for your Tom. It sounds like a very cool gift. "That feel of used knowledge," is a wonderful phrase, "beyond measure." :)

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  11. I enjoyed your walk, Teresa... for me... well? I've just camped all over ... from cities to remote areas to Camping Parks... going to sleep with clop clop sounds of horses' hooves on a city street is very cool.

    Going to sleep looking at the water and listening to the water... a moon shining in yer back window with stars ...

    Nature.... if it weren't for my sheer love of nature ... I think I'd be a complete basketcase... blue skies and white snow on green trees ... something hot to drink and sweet to eat... man?

    I really really REALLY hate to get those low down blues... but when I do? it's getting up and getting out ... even when I'm camped somewhere ... for me? it's keeping on changing ... adaptability ... acceptance and shutting that damn back door to my mind. it opens and lets all sorts of thises and thats come meandering in...

    I'm trying to put a lock on it... haven't found one yet that has withstood the constant banging to come in ... but at least I keep getting better ones that slows the thises and thats from overwhelming me.

    That's a lot of metaphoric metaphors ... lol BUT it's true ... daily exercise

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    1. That clop clop of the horses hooves does sound nice... riding on one under moonlit trees, even better... :)

      "Something hot to drink and sweet to eat... man?" I will give that some thought... :)

      Getting out the door is essential to shaking them off, so glad I was reminded. Shutting off the chatterbox inside also. It takes a lot of practice.

      Metaphoric metaphors...Good to hear from you, Carolyn. Are you at the ocean again? If so, say hello for me.

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  12. What an awesome way to spend Christmas Eve! I'm so glad you did it, and that you shared it.

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    1. Hi Janice, I trust you had a good Christmas and are enjoying the peace of this beautiful blue-skied day.

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  13. Teresa, this is lovely ... the night sky is filled with wonder as is your gentle spirit ... I love the end of this post and you are so very right ... eternity in the moment & each moment is really all there is ...

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    1. Yes, "eternity in the moment..." Thank you, Cletis.

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  14. Perhaps that moment could have become more perfect, but I really don't see how.

    Wouldn't it be great if there was some way to capture moments and like that and store them away, to have them available to relieve stress or cure the blues?

    I love winter nighttime walks. Unlike the summer, when the night sounds can be so loud you have to raise your voice to be heard, in th winter here it is usually perfectly quiet. If there is snow on the ground, the only sound is the sound of it crunching under your feet. You can see your breath and on a clear night those few million stars shine so much brighter than in the haze of summer.

    I'm imagining your walk was kinda like that. So I get it.

    peace

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    1. Being outside seems to be the best way for me to lose the blues, or let go of worries. It rearranges my life along gentler lines. We seem to "get" many things in life along very similar lines, for which I'm very grateful. I deeply appreciate the kindred spirits with whom I share this blogging world.

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  15. I love the idea of stars congregating in the night sky. Yes, it's hard to be self involved when we are confronted with the vastness of the big (and the little), but comprehending the Universe definitively chases away all that might be disheartening. That you experienced this with Buddy makes this all seem so much more poignant. Beautiful, beautiful writing.

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    1. Yes, "Chases away all that might be disheartening." I like that. I'm afraid, though, I left Buddy behind for the walk. Sometimes, I need to meet the night alone.
      Thanks, Bill.

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  16. I enjoyed the description of your night walk . I do that often myself.

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    1. You have premier places to do s., That night sky up where you are must be absolutely astonishing.

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    1. And the veil seems to be getting thinner....

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  18. I hope you remembered to call him to say you were back safely! That is a lovely example of friendship.... the phone call, the listening and the good advice at the perfect time. So important to obey those impulses to connect to one another.

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    1. But of course. :) And yes, it is a lovely friendship. These invaluable connections, with their "good advice at the perfect time," can take us to a whole new place. Nice to hear from you, Jill.

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  19. That was nice, really nice, a poem really...

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    1. Thank you so much, John. Your words make me very happy.

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  20. Hi Teresa,

    A starlit sky can be a moving experience. I never noticed them until I moved away from the city. The first time that I looked up and saw them -- free from the smog and pollution -- it stopped me in my tracks. It's hard to stay in the doldrums in the presence of that awe inspiring view.

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    1. I still recall the very first time I looked up and someone pointed out the Big Dipper to me. 4 years old. Changed my world, my life forever.

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  21. I love living in the city except for one thing: I miss seeing, really seeing, the night sky. For a long time my family had a lake cabin in northern Minnesota and I could sit on the dock and see the Milky Way stretched the length of the lake. Orion was a regular visitor, accompanied by millions of other stars. Here, I can pick out Orion and a few of his buddies, but drat, I know there's so much more up there. Sometimes I think of you, living where you do, envying your night sky. Thanks for sharing your Christmas Eve experience.

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    1. You're most welcome. I hope this next summer finds you at the lake again, looking up at the same night sky as I and seeing the very same things...

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  22. That was a moving and stunningly beautiful description of your night walk and the view of the night sky and I think I walked it with you! A couple of decades ago (at a time in my life when I had a romantic urge to be a writer...) I went on a camping trip to somewhere fairly remote... just me and my tent, and a big heavy manual typewriter. It was getting near winter and the nights were very long, so I would sit out in a little clearing in the forest beside the tent, and type bad poems by moonlight! A very funny image really, and I'm glad that no one discovered me. Well, the poems weren't much good, and I caught bronchitis no doubt due to the cold night air, but a treasured memory of the moon running through thin veils of cloud, and the bright stars remains.
    Happy New Year to you.

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    1. Peter, It's so nice to hear from you again. I trust all is well in New Zealand. I absolutely love the image of you sitting in the clearing with your typewriter, and would guess your poems weren't as bad as you suspect. We are always our own worst critics. :) What a great memory to have, and I'm glad you shared it here. Thanks for going on this walk with me.

      Happy New Year to You.

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  23. I have always found that the silence of nature, especially the peace of the night, refuels my soul. I am glad it chased away your blues and put everything in perspective again. We are so small and our lives go by in the blink of an eye. No time to waste on sadness or fear if we can help it. ;)

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet Rita. No time to waste... :)

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  24. Wise friend. I hope the peace & replenishment has continued in the days since...

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    1. Indeed. It's wonderful to have a friend who knows me so well and what I need. It has stayed, moving through my days in peace.... Thanks so much, Ashling.

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  25. How lovely. I am headed up to my cabin tomorrow for my end of the year "retreat" and I might take a night walk myself. There is something magical, mystical, and thin about the night. I'm glad it was comforting for you. Best wishes for 2013.

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    1. Have a wonderful time, Galen. Best Wishes for the New Year.

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  26. Last year, we were passing through southern Nebraska. Our hosts took us out into the countryside - actually the sandhills - and we piled out of their truck and looked up at the vastest sky I had ever seen.

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    1. Oh, I can imagine the sandhills would be marvelous at night. I've only been through during the day...What a nice way to view the night sky, all that openness....

      I love that you piled out of the truck.... have always loved and used that phrase. It holds good memories in itself. Thanks, Linda!

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