While sitting on the porch step waiting for Orange, the cat, to arrive for his daily snuggle I gazed into the early morning sky. It was mostly dark. There were some clouds visible on the horizon, but the air was otherwise, clean and dry. On my mind’s jukebox I heard Willie Nelson’s voice singing his version of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies”. However, my mind substituted the phrase “dark skies” for the phrase “blue skies” wherever it appears in the song.
There are countless songs that pay tribute to sunny, bright days–for instance “Blue Skies”. Romantic tunes about dark skies are far and few between. I think there should be more positive, uplifting songs about the night-time sky. It would be great if Willie Nelson would write and sing a song like this.
It’s an understatement to say that I love the nighttime skies. Like millions of other folks, I live for the dark sky, unencumbered by clouds, haze, and light pollution. Completely dark skies of this type are a rare treat.
Even in eastern Nebraska, ideal dark skies are absent. The towns and farms are close enough together that light pollution is a problem. When the craving for pristine dark skies reaches the level of obsession, I plan a car trip out west to Cherry County. Before going, I check the Moon phase chart for a New Moon, then the weather forecast for that area. I rent a motel room in Valentine, then take a primitive road further west to the part of the large county where there are no towns and where ranch properties are unlit.
“I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings.”–Gustave Flaubert
I usually go to Cherry County alone, but in the past I used to bring my now ex-BF. It’s important to be alone or with someone who appreciates quietude and the silent meditative quality of the pristine dark sky away from civilization.
Just being present in the majesty of the dark sky brings about profound thoughts about the entirety of life. My egotistical, partitioned concepts drift away into the infinite vastness of the Universe. Sometimes I want to dance and sing to celebrate the joy that dark skies offer to the soul. It’s obvious why poets find inspiration from the dark sky. If I was a songwriter, I’d collaborate with Willie Nelson on a “Dark Skies” song.
Contemplating the dark skies over Cherry County, a person wonders about the billions of galaxies that contain billions of stars. There are more stars than there are grains of sand upon the Earth. Due to the limitations of the speed of light, we can only see up to a certain threshold. I try to imagine what lies beyond the light-years that astronomers cannot see even with the benefit of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Thoughts shift to the rotation of our planet as the darkness begins to segue to the first slight glimmers of light from the East. Orange the cat did not show up this morning. (Sometimes he is a no-show.) With daytime approaching, I walk into the house to begin writing this blog post about dark skies.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Earth-friendly author and social media journalist, Jane Velez-Mitchell. “Go ahead, weathercasters and reporters: Tell Americans precisely what we don’t want to hear: namely, that our self-indulgent, carbon-heavy, gluttonous and disposable lifestyle is precisely what is churning up the angry response from the skies and seas.”