Notes from Windward: #67


Thoughts on a Windward Sky

Lindsay writes:

     Over the past few months I have grown intensely aware of the sky. The sky is so expansive and so consistently present that it is amazingly easy to overlook. I think I became aware of the sky for the first time this past summer, as I spent most of my waking hours, day after day, week after week, outside pedaling my way across the northern-most part of the United States on my bike--and watching the sky. In usual daily activities, the task in front of me commands most of my energy, and I focus on objects within an arm's reach, or just beyond. The sky serves as a dynamic backdrop, only occasionally becoming the center stage event.


     At Windward, this is different. Even with the many and varied projects going on, the sky makes her presence known on this high plateau, and often captures my full attention. She does this, in part, by catching me off guard. I am accustomed to looking to the west in the evening for the chance to be awed by the setting sun. While the evening sun casts a light that makes the high plateau to the south stand aglow in orange-red hues, and Mt. Hood stand silhouetted against a melting sky, it is the early morning sun that rewards those awake with a striking light show.


     Dawn is a quiet time at Windward, though if you have ever heard the cacophony of roosters, guinea hens, and goats that resonates through Windward every morning, you may wonder about my use of the word 'quiet.' It is a time when I am usually the only person wandering around the property, the only person who looks up to the southeastern sky to see it alight with the rising sun. The sky is particularly captivating on partly overcast mornings, when the sunlight can dance with the clouds.


     Once the sun goes down, the sky continues to captivate and astound. Except for the occasional flashlight to light the way between buildings, the moon and stars are the primary sources of light that illuminate the landscape after sunset. Having few man-made lights outside, I have become acutely aware of the phases of the moon. On nights with a full moon, the sky is so bright you can see as if it were dawn or dusk, the trees even casting moon shadows on the ground; with no moon, or with an overcast sky, the darkness is so deep that without a flashlight only the sixth sense that you gain when the body is so familiar with a specific landscape or path can guide you.


     On several occasions, while asleep in the yurt (Acorn), I have woken up in the middle of the night. Confused as to what startled me awake, I look around me and finally up through the skylight that forms the center of Acorn's roof to see the moon shining brightly down on me. I usually wake up with the sun, which is in part why I have the opportunity to watch the morning sunrises. Yet, I have not, until now, had the experience of being pulled out of my dreams and woken up by the moonlight. I cannot think of many other circumstances when I wake to an experience more fantastical and wondrous than my dreams.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67