Sunday, 13 September 2009

Woodland walking and the night sky

West Woods, Wiltshire
Yesterday was a warm, sunny late summer day. I had the pleasure of walking with a couple of friends through West Wood in Wiltshire, a county better known for its rolling downs and almost mystical vistas ...
In the evening, with the same two friends I went out to an 'open mic' music evening held out at Avebury. As we made our way out onto the downs in Cathy's ramshackle car (new one pending) we were going at a speed that allowed us to observe the sun going down, spreading that nameless sunset colour across the sky and bathing the downs in golden light.
One of the reasons I love to attend these music nights is that I get to see the breath-taking stars in the night sky at the end of the evening. Last night did not disappoint ... astonishing, amazing; these words seem inadequate. I saw the Milky Way for the first time.
On the journey home, my friends discussed the musical merits of the evening while I sat quietly in the back of the car and watched the orange crescent moon rise above the dark hills. As the neon lit town of Swindon came into view, the moon appeared to rise and was suspended in the sky above the plain below ... a strangely beautiful sight.
I am aware that I miss so very much of the night sky by being a town dweller ... the trade-off for not owning a car.