The magic of the night sky
By Patricia Baer
One of my favorite aspects of living in Central Wisconsin is the clear view of the night sky. The evenings where a full-bodied, glowing moon lights up an otherwise pitch-black world are fun. Those are the evenings when nature receives a spotlight to reveal a glimpse of the habits of nocturnal creatures.
The nights with only a quarter moon, when that celestial body takes a backseat to allow the galaxy to showcase its stars, are my favorite. The moon is a reminder of what is nearby and still considered part of our world. The stars represent worlds unto themselves.
When I was a kid visiting my grandparents for the summer, the country sky was an astounding wonder to behold. I was always mesmerized—the way some view the ocean and its seeming infinity for the first time. Coming from suburbia, the stars were a hidden sight, obscured by cityscapes and pollution. At home I never knew for sure if I was making a wish upon a star or a jetliner flying out of O’Hare.
At my grandparents’ house, my inner turmoil and teen angst was soothed by those twinkling beams sparkling down at me. They inspired hope by reminding me that the universe was not limited to my tumultuous teenage world. The possibilities for my future were not bound by my present circumstances, and there existed an uncountable number of roads available to travel.
Being able to view the night sky is one of the best parts of my neighborhood. Surprisingly, even downtown Marshfield has enough nighttime lighting to dim stargazing activities. The difference moving to a more residential part of town made was obvious immediately. Instead of the occasional glittery beacon, I now found myself under a roof of stars.
Often suffering from insomnia on this sleepy little block of mine, I have taken to wandering through the house to various windows to stare at the spectacular vista. When warmer weather returns, I am sure my neighbors will find themselves perplexed by the strange woman who sits in her backyard at 3 a.m., but for now I am content to engage in my recreational astronomy from indoors.
Of all the dreams I have for home remodeling, installing skylights or building a sunroom with a glass roof is my favorite. I often imagine a room decked out with cushions where I could lay on my back and lose myself in mediation while gazing at the stars. Because looking upwards in the dark still gives me the sense of tranquility and hope that it did when I was a kid, it is still a way I am able to give myself a sense of peace in the chaotic moments of life.