|Pileated Woodpecker Silhouette|
I should love to shrink and be allowed to ride upon this Pileated Woodpecker. I shall not force my will upon him nor shall we bond . . . both of us remaining free to our individual destinies. I will carefully grasp onto his fiery red mane or cap and fit snug into the gap between his head and wings . . . my legs helping to hold me safe. I can fly with him over the leafless landscape and mountains, then into the floating painted clouds, but I can never know the thrilling feeling of freely sailing into the air . . . he might feel . . . as his wings open and close. Since this is only a dream, I am content with imagining the joy of such flight. Here the majestic mostly black woodpecker appears like a silhouette, for the lighter sky in the background has washed out his bold red plumes and white markings. If you would like to see the beauty of this creature, you can see him in full color here.
|Mount Holyoke Range at Sunset|
|High Ridge and Carey Hill|
This time of year sunrises and sunsets are more vivid and dramatic above Flower Hill Farm. Observing light painting the sky is a good way to begin and end any day.
Before dawn Venus shines brightly and the evening sky is lit up by a fabulous celestial display. First to rise in the southeast over Walnut Hill is the beautiful star cluster 'Pleiades', which is also known as the Seven Sisters.
Many a night I saw the Pleiades, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Next to rise are the Twins of 'Gemini', Castor and Pollux, who were the mythological twin brothers of Helen of Troy . . . all children of Zeus and Leda. The bright stars lay diagonally from one another in the foreheads of the twins, above and to the left of the mighty 'Orion - The Hunter'. Orion's Belt dangles, like diamond pendants from a chandelier, between the behemoth red Betelgeuse, in the hunter's right shoulder and the blue supergiant Rigel in his left foot. Sirius the dog star (our brightest star) of 'Canis Major' faithfully follows his master soon after. If you do not suffer from light pollution, you can see this star studded show each night for free with the naked eye.
Looking up at the sky connects us to one another and with ancestors and ancient peoples from all over the world. It is fascinating how many cultures, from the Greeks to our Native Americans, share similar folklore regarding the heavens we all see simply by gazing upon the world above us. It seems the perfect time of year to ponder the miracles of light in our day and night life.