All we had was cloud on the peak of the Geminids. Lisa and I tried to push through the cloud seeking a higher elevation. This can be tough; first, the roads are the shits, second, we’re committed to our first choice.
Sometimes it goes, sometimes it doesn’t.
On the way back into town we spotted this nicely decorated cabin. It was early, they’d either left the lights on all night or were delighting the folks off to work ahead of schedule.
It feels good to wonder around with Lisa on a summer night. Everything going on in the sky, planets moving, the Milky Way, the Tail of Scorpius just above the mountains, comets and satellites.
The mosquitoes were ferocious. Willow riled up some deer. Elk lined the highway. Lisa and I both looked for eyes in the ditch far ahead. We can’t see the way we used to, so go slow now.
There was a time I used to dive off docks and rocks in the pitch black with faith there would be water below me. In summer nights the water is warmer than air. I can still see you wade in. Lisa made her own bikinis. There was fish down there that swirled around us.
Was up early to try to get a photo of Comet NEOWISE. It is in the northeast before dawn. I spotted it a few mornings ago and even got a few photos, however without a tripod they were a little fuzzy. This morning Willow and I prepared with tripod and flashlight to check camera settings.
We headed for the banks above Lake Windermere. It was my hope to get the lake in the foreground. Comet NEOWISE was easy to locate with the naked eye. I needed binoculars a few mornings previous. Like certain stars and constellations once you find them your eye is drawn to them.
It’s a real treat to see comets. NEOWISE will remain visible for a while as it heads back towards the outer solar system. Estimated time to make a return journey 6800 years. Pretty lucky for Willow and I to be standing there when we were.
Lisa and I headed for Brewer Ridge to watch the Full Moon rise over the valley.
The Moon always seems to take it’s time rising, especially when it’s cold. Lisa and I took pictures of the mountains until the light ran out. We admired bright Venus above and at our backs. Orion unveiled in the darkness along with the Twins of Gemini, Pleiades appeared just before the Moon.
The last of the days light on the eastern slopes.
At last the few whispy clouds in the east became illuminated and the Moon peeked out behind the rocky crags.
A chinook rolled in taking most of the snow in the valley bottom.
Willow and I headed into the mountains tonight. We were looking for stars, but knew it would be a tough find. Sure enough it was cloud cover. Sometimes the clouds can be scaled via a mountain pass leading to clear skies. It was worth a try. The roads were ice but decent.
Back in the bottoms we took to the lake, frozen with at least 14″ of ice, glare from melt. Pure hell to walk on, especially in the dark. This is were I grew up. Only yards from shore, across the tracks.
It’s a different place now. The lake is an attraction. A commodity to be bought and sold.
But, here tonight, it doesn’t look much different than I can remember. More ice shacks, less fish, more lights on the east side filling the sky with pollution.
The tracks are there. My world would revolve around those trains. Watching them roll by, the sound, tracks creaking, listening for oiled ties loose on a stoney bed, coal dropping by the cart load, happy to be burned, eventually getting between me and the lake.
Things change, not quickly, but minutely, it’s hard to detect. Until one day you’re scratching your grey beard, in the same place as when you were young, finally figuring the joke’s on me.
ISS appears in the west. The streak is its movement captured in a 30 second exposure.
There have been plenty of times I’ve seen the International Space Station go across the night sky. Tonight was the first night I planned for it. It seemed only fitting with newly arrived Canadian, David Saint-Jacques aboard.
It is the first time a Canadian has been in space since Chris Hadfield in 2013.
Chris Hadfield has been an inspiration to Canadians, sharing his experiences, singing songs and even writing a children’s book.
I followed Hadfield’s photography when he was on the Space Station. He took wonderful images of the Canadian landscape as it appeared from space. They were both fierce and fragile.
A panorama of three photos facing east. Taurus, Hyades and Pleiades can be seen in twilight. A meteor streaks towards Nutmucqcin.
I arrived early took a few pictures and set up the camera. Sure enough the Space Station appeared right on time in the west and started across the sky. It increased in brightness as it moved directly overhead. It was my intention to get a photo of it against the eastern landscape, however the cold made my camera loosen from the tripod. Metal parts shrink in -12°c. The camera had been sitting without use for a half hour. By the time I secured the camera ISS was gone. That’s planning for you and why I’ll never work for NASA.
From what I read and hear all Canadians are excited to have another astronaut to cheer for and wish David Saint-Jacques a safe, successful mission.
The Milky Way dips below the horizon, leaving the night to the brilliant winter stars.
Willow and I took for the benches, beyond the ruck, into the burn. We arrived early. The Moon wasn’t down and Orion wasn’t up. We neither had a cup of coffee or a beer to expedite the wait. Willow occupied herself looking for mice. I thought about hunting. How I could have filled the freezer by now, instead I’m foolishly after stars.
It was an exceptional fall day. No clouds, cool but with sunshine. Today cannnabis is legal for recreational use in Canada. It is the step in the right direction to give people the right to do what they have been doing all along. Growing, packaging, advertising, pricing distribution and tax collecting will now be handled and approved by government and friends.
A meteor streaks beside Mars before it follows the moon over the eastern ridge.
It is odd to see folks so long in favour of prohibition now on the other side, espousing and controlling the market they see as lucrative.
Along the fence line, into the darkness, chasing the night.
Wouldn’t it be funny if everybody just grew their own.
More small gardens would be a good thing.
It took the moon to go down before the sky was dark enough to make out The Milky Way.
Orion rises, in pursuit of Taurus and Pleiades. The trees limbs point to Orion’s Belt.