July 31, 2008 #014 - Sleeping Under the Stars

Have you ever abandoned your comfy bed, forsaken a tent and slept with only the night sky above you? It was one of my favorite times as a young boy. I would set out the cot on the hill facing south in my parents yard, the sleeping bag and an old canvas tarp draped over it to ward off the dew.

In those times light pollution had not yet dimmed the stars. The twilight would fade, and the stars would shine so clear that as you stared at the sky you could imagine falling upward as if you were floating in space. I remember one night when a brilliant green meteor trail lit up the sky. It was the color that a piece of copper makes when you burn it in a campfire. The thrill of the sight is still vivid after 50 years.

It is during the long night as you doze and wake then sleep and wake again that you truly discover that the earth and you are really turning. You can read about it and watch the sun move through out the day but these little slices of time during the night are like a time lapse movie. You see the familiar constellations move, old stars set and new ones rise. Then the final act to the play arrives all too soon as the birds begin to sing and dawn in the east fades the night away.

Clear Sky - Rich

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