What a Day!

Very early this morning we heard a commotion and looked out the window, there was a dark shadowy animal moving in the dark, and our dog Dixi was growling. When my Wonderful Wife opened the door, she was overwhelmed by the pungent odor of a skunk. This was Dixi’s second encounter since we’ve been here, but so far she has avoided the full blast of said skunk.

Just before sunrise I went outside. The air was still and very quiet. And clear – clear, quiet, and very still. I’ve only encountered this level of quiet a couple of times in my life – and it is eerie and ironically, disquieting. I’m telling you, there was no sound. No wind, no animals, no insects, no electric motors, no airplanes, no traffic, nothing – nothing. I held my breath and listened – nothing. It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever listened to.

And then I looked up to witness something I’ve not seen in a couple of decades. The clear, dark sky – with no moon – illuminated with uncountable stars. For the first time in years, the canopy of stars wrapped around me like a dome. There was depth and the stars seemed to reach down to include me into their space. Venus was huge and bright in the eastern sky, Jupiter was stellar above, and Orion guarded the night with unwavering and unchanging duty. The Pleiades spiraled into the sky in dimensions we can barely fathom.

I stood in awe. I felt small, I felt honored, and humbled. The moment was blessed and I clung to that moment – loosely. I tried to absorb the enormity, but I couldn’t contain it. I sought to hear the silence, but it was unlistenable. I prayed to experience the night sky, but my heart was unable to embrace the power I was witnessing. It was bigger than me, but I was allowed to be a part of this universe. Dawn was just breaking – it was a magical moment.

I’m blessed, I’m encouraged, and I’m empowered.

Today, the kids and I pulled up the last of the electric fence and further prepared the ranch for Winter. They worked beside me, giggling, quarrelling, and ever-seeking to learn and please. What a pleasure to work beside one’s kids – what a pleasure to enjoy work again. What a pleasure to lack nothing.

Then, just after dinner, I heard them – coming from the NW and flying SE – Tundra Swans that spend their winters here. I hurried outside to see dozens of these magnificent birds flying over the house – headed to the small lake out in one of the pastures – about a half mile from us. As the sun set, we listened to their melodic calls as they appeared to settle down for the evening.

A perfect way to end a perfect day – listening to the sounds of the very swans I wrote about just before leaving Oregon.

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  1. […] Just before sunrise I went outside. The air was still and very quiet. And clear – clear, quiet, and very still. I’ve only encountered this level of quiet a couple of times in my life – and it is eerie and ironically, disquieting. I’m telling you, there was no sound. No wind, no animals, no insects, no electric motors, no airplanes, no traffic, nothing – nothing. I held my breath and listened – nothing. It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever listened to.  […]

  2. Celeste Lee says:

    Gary, I painted at an inside job till mid nite last nite… Even though I live in Chadron, when I came home the stars were so amazing… Clear, filling the sky. I haven’t seen them like that for a while and I must admit I got a tear or too. I use to live 18 miles out of town and on nights like that miss it… So glad God has blessed you abundantly.

    1. gwalter says:

      Jennifer’s aunt has stargazers come here specifically because it is some of the clearest night sky they’ve found. The bassoon players who were here last weekend, just raved and raved.

      We are blessed!!

  3. Chris Thiessen says:

    You made me feel as if I were there. Thank you!

    When my daughter, Sydney, was about 3, Tim took her outside to look at the stars. It was a dark night and good for viewing. Tim asked her how many stars she thought there were and her reply was “about 110”. Tim chuckled and replied, “honey, there are millions of stars… more than you can count.” Sydney’s reply: “Daddy, 110 is more than I can count!”

    1. gwalter says:

      Great story! I love it: “110 is more than I can count!” #sweet

  4. […] since arriving in Valentine, I’ve experienced quiet like this – absolute, pure, unadulterated quiet. Accompanied by a canopy of a billion stars, I revel in […]

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