Monday, 17 December 2007

The Perfect Night

I'm standing on the deck looking at a clear sky littered with a million stars and a brilliant moon in its first quarter. The breeze is warm and inviting. So warm that even at 2330 (or 11.30pm in old money) all the patio doors onto the deck in the living room and my bedroom are wide open and a breeze is running through the Cottage. Ordinarily I couldn't do that because the Cottage would fill with moths but tonight I have no lights on. The Cottage is lit by the moon and the stars and the moths have sought other places.

I am looking out into the geological kettle on the side of which the Cottage nestles. There is no light pollution. Indeed I can see no lights whatsoever. Yet the apple trees in the orchard across the paddock in front of the Cottage are clearly visible.

All this makes the night one of the most beautiful I have experienced here since last year when I stood on the beach with the waves lit by the glow of the moon on a similar evening.

And it is so quiet. During the day the birdsong is so loud that it could almost be intrusive but tonight there is just the sound of the Cicadas. There is a rustling of the leaves in the huge trees nearby. I am afraid of being near trees in the dark. I always have been. There is nothing rational about such fears. Wendy always offers to walk me the 50 metres 'home' down the tree-lined drive! Tonight I've been wandering round near the Cottage and the huge trees which stand not so far away. It's not pitch dark, of course, because of the moonlight but even so I would normally be terrified to stray away from the Cottage. What is it about tonight that allows that fear to flee?

Often I see shooting stars here just as I do on Lewis but I have just seen a phenomenon which I have never seen before: a flash in the sky rather like a star exploding. Presumably it wasn't that but what it was I do not know. Any ideas anyone?


  1. Elaine has said: At a quick guess could it be one of those explosions in the galaxy called M82, which of course is a well known "star factory"?

    As I know nothing about these things has anyone anything further?

  2. The Russians shooting down a US satellite or the Americans shooting down a soviet satellite - it all depends on your political bias and your degree of paranoia.