Stargazing: Beautiful Scenery that is Everywhere by @_NancyRadke

The joys of stargazing and cloud-watching are that they go with you wherever you are, as long as you can see the sky. Summer, winter, the season doesn’t matter nor does the surrounding landscape. What does affect stargazing is the amount of light on the ground, or if there is a full moon, which hides the stars around it.

Stargazing

If you are in a city with many lights, it is difficult to see more than a few stars. But get away from the city and the sky reveals that it is covered with stars everywhere. In Alaska, the stars were often joined by the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights decorate the night sky with beauty and color. This is especially lovely during the dark winter months when we only have a few hours of sunshine.

The Joy of Stargazing

Stargazing was probably one of my greatest joys when growing up on a ranch. I used to sleep outside during harvest time so that I could look at the stars. They rotate around the North Star, so that the Big Dipper acts like the hands of a clock. I used to be able to tell time by them, since I saw them so often. When I rode my horse at night, which I often did, I would try to see how close I could come to the actual time by reading the star rotation. The same can be done with the sun during the day.

Cloud-watching is best done with cumulus clouds. The big fluffy kind that lets you imagine figures and landscapes, and that constantly change as you watch them. Teach your children the names of the different kinds of clouds, the names of some of the stars, and the constellations. No matter where they are in the world, the information will enrich their lives. If they travel to the Southern Hemisphere, the stars will rotate in the opposite direction and there will be different constellations, but the basic knowledge will get them started.

Star Rotation

I usually mention the stars in my western books. The pioneers used the stars to set their directions, placing the wagon tongue at night to point north.

Nancy Radke

Kingley Vale by @KatyWalters07

In Kingley Vale, near Chichester in West Sussex, England, nestles an ancient forest of yews over 2,000 years old, believed to be the oldest living organisms in Great Britain. Above this prehistoric combe stand The Kings Graves, otherwise known as the Devil’s Humps. They are supposed to be the graves of Anglo Saxon Kings and marauding Vikings.

In the hours of darkness, it is sometimes said that the ghosts of ancient Druids haunt the forest, mingling with the slain Anglo Saxons and slaughtered Danes. There are tales of the druids carrying out rituals and sacrifices in the hours of darkness, where the trees bleed and change shape moving amongst the ghostly figures of the dead and the living. For some, it is a place for spiritual healing; for others a place of dark rituals.

Buzzards have returned to Kingley Vale


Kingley Vale

Kingley Vale treads into my heart,

Its paths of loam roam arteries,

Twigs carve through capillaries.

Falling leaves sleeve the skin.

Ancient peat, fleshing feet.

Roots grope the hungering breath,

Feeding, raising Sorcerer and Druid.

Slain sacrificial maid long dead,

Leavens the bread of my emptiness.

Ghouls whisper in death stench groves,

Of Wicca, the Priestess, the dagger.

Owl’s eyes light the night, as the raven cries,

Covering terror’s screams and death’s moans,

On stone altar, the ravaging Warlock groans.

Moon Mother throws her silver lance,

Elf and fairy, gnome and crone,

Leap and weep in the ecstasy of dance.

The steel ping of the coca-cola tin,

Snaps my reverie,

Kingley Vale treads gently

Back into the caverns of my soul

Whispering, forever, whispering.

Copyright: Katy Walters, 1998

Kingley Vale Deer