August 30, 2017 – Somewhere off in the distance, a squirrel is annoyed. The cardinals are not too happy, either. Sipping my coffee, I listen to their sounds of displeasure… the squirrel with its clacking and wheezing, and the cardinals with their sharp, quick chipping. Normally, this time of day is reserved for crickets and cicadas. What has set off the alarm this morning? It could be our visiting cat, Athena, patrolling her territory.
Or, it could be a passing hawk. We’ve seen Cooper’s and red-tails many times. Most likely, I’ll never know. The woods are still thick with greenery this time of year, and much of what happens there is hidden from my view.
I have only the sounds to hint at what may be taking place. These events don’t last long, though. Soon, the cat will move on or the hawk will fly off, and it will be all crickets and cicadas again.
August 29, 2017 – The days are getting shorter. This is especially noticeable as the rhythms and patterns of the Earth shift compared to the unchanging patterns of the human day. I sit on my couch in the early morning as I write this, looking out the sunroom windows to the east and notice the differences in the light now–both in quantity and quality–compared to a few weeks ago. Now, 6:00 AM is all dim, misty, pale dawn with crickets still softly chirping and the neighbor’s backyard light still on. Just a few weeks ago, bright rays of sun would have already been poking through the trees, and the morning would have been bright, sharp, and noisy. Birds would have been chattering and swooping, going about their morning business. This time of year, even when the morning is well under way, the light never seems to have that hot, intense sharpness; it’s more warm, radiant, and golden.
This morning’s sky is clear–peaceful and serene, but not as dramatic as a partly cloudy sky. Light needs a companion–a towering cumulonimbus, a high mountain peak, a hillside carpeted with autumn trees–to create drama and awe.
Without the light, there are no amazing landscape or skyscape views. And without land and sky objects, the light just continues on its journey, uninterrupted by interesting features.
I think most often we prefer to have things to look at, objects that catch our eye and focus our attention. But, an “empty sky” has its own special beauty, giving us a glimpse of the vastness, the immensity, the infinity that is our world and our universe.