Tag: Stars

Home in the Sky

Home in the Sky

Arriving just before sunset….

Sometimes it’s easy to dwell in the littleness of life…or even get stuck there. When we feel stress or anxiety the tendency is to curl up in our little space with a blanket and binge-watch crappy television. At least that’s what I do sometimes. As the mind focuses on the chaos of (fill in the ______) it seems safer to be small because the chaos feels so big.

The Perseid Meteor event pulled me out of my little bubble and an amazing gift unfolded as I found myself immersed in the present–not in my head chasing mental rabbits down endless holes.

Friends of mine have a beach house in a relatively dark section of beach and they allow me to go there to photograph the night sky. Last evening found me standing in white, soft sand wondering if the heavy cloud cover would remain as darkness fell. “I came here to see meteors,” I exclaimed.

Maybe it was the polite way I asked for a window to see stars or just a weird beach phenomena….but a pathway to the stars opened and a bank of clouds held just east of Mars to allow viewing of the vast night sky.

After tiring of standing and craning my neck with the tripod, I adjusted the legs to a short extension and laid on the sand under the tripod. With my cable release wrapped around a tripod leg, I could lay on my back, watch stars, take long exposures and adjust the settings from a most relaxed point of view.

Taking long exposures with my camera always brings me to a place of stillness as 20, 25, 30 seconds pass. I can’t move or walk away….just have to stand (or in my case laying) in stillness as the heavens expand overhead.

There was one amazing shooting star with a bright sprinkle of star dust that trailed over the Gulf of Mexico and there were smaller ones that zipped quickly through the night sky…and that was amazing. But the real show for me was the Milky Way as it emerged from the darkening sky.

The Earth Mother supported me in my rest and opening to the endless depths of space and stars and I felt layers of worries fall away as I focused on the bigness of the Universe. Bigness….such an understatement.

By surrendering to something greater than me, I found profound peace. Allowing the depth of the Universe to touch me and awaken me, I found home again….in the sky….in myself….beyond….beyond….beyond.

Véineas agus an Ghealach

Véineas agus an Ghealach

Pre-dawn in Árainn, Ireland….I’m still dreaming of being there.

I woke at 5am and rushed to put on my cycling clothes along with a Smartwool undershirt. It was the first crisp day to ride of the best riding season of all on the Alabama Gulf Coast….which is ANY time the humidity drops below 80% and the mornings are crisp.

As I pulled onto the highway with my bike loaded on the back of the car, the sliver of the crescent moon hung very low in the eastern sky with venus in perfect alignment beneath it. The crescent was horns up with the dark of the moon creating a perfect circle above it. And there was a red planetary body to the right of the moon. The triangular alignment was spectacular. It made me think of a delicate silver moon necklace with a small chain hanging down dangling a brilliant diamond beneath it.

All the way to the state park I watched the beautiful firmament. Stars twinkled and all seemed to point to the incredible dance of the moon, Venus and Mars.

When I stepped out of the car, the chilly wind caught me by surprise but not nearly as much as the constellations shining so brightly overhead. I attached lights to my bicycle, put on my shoes, helmet and jacket and took off into the darkness.

One of the many, many moments of bliss I discovered within myself in Ireland.

Immediately I recognized the feeling and it was the first time, since returning from Árainn, Ireland, I felt it. Stars, chilly air, darkness, nature…..ah…..laughter erupted as I pedaled. It was awesome to be able to find my bliss again and find home in my skin.

After such a powerful time of travel and adventure, there is often a time when the big energy that built with the experience collapses and life returns back to a place that wasn’t so awesome. But the changes and leaps made in Ireland continue to propel me forward. The energy of change and growth remains strong and the renewal gained there is clear and bright.

Véineas agus an Ghealach….Venus and the Moon reminded me how my wild woman self loves stars whether under pine trees with a humid breeze or on rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. May I continue to dance with wild abandon to the untamed heart within me.

Work With What You Have

Work With What You Have

_tsl7170The moon was supposed to be in crescent phase. No clouds were forecast. I was ready to play with stars!

So the moon was half full and there were clouds. And there was wind which made sea oats blur with time exposures. But moonlight illuminated the snow-white sand and the clouds provided an interesting addition to some images. And waving sea oats provided an element of flow to the stillness of the heavens.

_tsl7169As I stood on the beach adjusting shutter speed, ISO, f-stop and focus, I thought how wonderful it is to be surprised in life. As I counted to 25, 34, 41….I considered the joy that can come from working with what we have, not necessarily what we want. The photographs looked really nice in my LCD screen so as I stood there, under the multitude of stars I thought, Who cares if there are clouds and the moon makes photographing the Milky Way challenging or even impossible? Isn’t it awesome that the sea oats are dancing?

_tsl7187If we always have exactly what we want, how would we learn to be creative? Anyone can take the formula for astrophotography and make a decent shot. But what if conditions are simply not conducive for the sought after goal? Give up and go home? Or play?

Life is like that. We wish for events to turn out as we envision but it’s not always like that. And in the end, sometimes it’s even better. I aimed my camera and counted off the seconds with the shutter timer over and over. This morning a shooting star awaited me. Never expected that….but what a nice surprise.

_tsl7193More than anything though, the night of photographing stars finally helped me illustrate the feelings of wonder and awe I experience when monitoring sea turtle nests under such amazing celestial beings on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

“We show up, burn brightly, live passionately, hold nothing back, and when the moment is over, when our work is done, we step back and let go.” (Rolf Gates) And sometimes we yell with joy, “WOO HOO!!!”

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