Enjoy a starry, starry night this fall

One of my favorite things to do at night is to go outside and look at the stars. I don’t look for a long time on winter nights, unless I’m in a car, but in the summer, and especially on those clear, chilly fall nights, it’s great to walk out and stare at the night sky and just soak in the brilliant lights above.

Where we live, now, I have to turn away from the yard light but then there are very few other lights to interfere, so the stars are very bright.

When we lived in South Dakota, we had no yard light and had a wonderful view of the whole sky. I loved walking out on the prairie and watching for falling stars.

But the memory of watching stars that is the strongest is when I was very little. My folks liked to travel at night; most likely this was because there were four children and we slept at night but were noisy and restless during the day. Because my dad was in the Air Force, we moved to many different places but would travel “home” to North Dakota for holidays quite often.

When I was under the age of eight, we had sedans for our cars. We moved to Japan for three years and when we returned, the folks started getting station wagons, as we were all getting larger in size.

In a station wagon, if you travel / sleep in the “way back,” you get a great view of the night sky and can watch the stars “move” as you travel.

But the most vivid memory was when we were still in sedans. Of course, children, you must realize that seat belts were not in cars at that time and car seats were also not used. My folks would put suitcases on the floor of the back seat and put blankets on them to make a bed. Then one child would sleep on the floor, one on the seat, and baby sister would sleep in the front seat between Mom and Dad. But that’s only three children!

That left me … and my sleeping spot of choice was the back window “shelf.” I was small enough to fit there comfortably, so I had a pillow and a blanket and would curl up there to sleep. I spent most of my time watching the stars until I fell asleep.

While up there in my little “bunk,” I learned where the North Star was, learned to recognize several different constellations, including the Big and Little Dippers and learned to appreciate Mother Nature in all her night-time glory.

It is a joy to realize that after some sixty years the sky has not changed, although I have. I could not crawl onto a window shelf any more, even if it were allowed by safety standards, but I can sit in the passenger seat of our car and enjoy the same view as I did as a child.

Those nighttime rambles with my family taught me to appreciate the night sky; I am still in the same awe as I was as a child. Might I suggest that you spend some time outside, away from city lights, if possible, studying the night sky and enjoying the peace and harmony that you will feel during this time.

About cpthegreat

Connie (aka Spinning Grandma) lives on Ash Lane Farm in southwest Minnesota. She is an expert on spinning, weaving and knitting and a former history interpreter.