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December 16, 2009

Starry, Starry Night

We were in the City yesterday, and didn't get home till the sun was resting on the horizon. It was heavy twilight by the time we finished feeding the horses, and we were using the headlights of the ATV to light the corral. We were thankful for the solar light in the barn as we let the horses out and they made their way to the hay we'd put out for them.

At the top of the hill, the rest of the family went inside and I fed the goats in the dark. Somehow I'd forgotten to bring out a flashlight with me; there is a light inside their barn but some of my tasks are in unlighted areas. The darkest chore is taking the hay to the does' fenceline feeders. After filling those, I stood for a few minutes and enjoyed the stillness. The winds were non-existent, and the stars stood out in sharp contrast to the black sky.

I love living in the country where there is no light pollution. There are a few lights on top of the ridge several miles away; I can see the yard lights belonging to our two closest neighbors through the leafless trees, but that's about it. The population-per-square-mile out here is a really small number. It is easy to view the myriad stars and the stars-behind-the-stars; I am awed by the vastness of space. Truth be told, I cannot identify many of the constellations or stars, and last night I did not see even one that looked familiar. That bright one over there was probably Mars or Venus rather than a star, but I can't be sure.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

When we first moved here, I was intimidated. We'd been living "in the country" in Michigan, on one whole acre on a gravel road that had only five houses on a one-mile stretch, so I thought I was prepared. However our acre was surrounded by flat farmland, and the neighbors' homes were just across the field. Here, it's a quarter mile to our nearest neighbor, and a mile in the other direction to the next-closest neighbor. That first week we were here, when the coyotes howled outside our camper and their footprints were obvious in the mud the next morning, we rethought our decision to live here, just like the single woman we bought the place from had done... after sleeping in her car for a few nights she decided it was too much for her and she skedaddled back to civilization.

A star-filled night reminds me of all of that, it declares God's glory, and it fills my soul with music.

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