Monday, March 24, 2008

Big and Bright

After dinner on our first night in the Basin, we walked the Basin Loop trail, a short little hike that we figured was a fair warmup for the week ahead.

As we walked beneath the Oak and Pine and Juniper and Sotol and Agave and Evergreen Sumac that line the mountains there, the sun passed beyond Ward Mountain. Evening began to descend, even as an hour or two of daylight remained in the desert just to the west of the peaks.

Later, from outside our room, we watched the line of the shadow of the earth work its way up the pink face of Casa Grande as shadows began to deepen around us. We sat outside reading at evening passed into night and as the deep blue sky turned black.

And what a black sky it was. The Pleiades shined brightly, each one of the sisters plain to see. And Orion shouted down at us with his scabbard skirting the edge of the Milky Way. Blacker than black, that sky was, with the chalky smear of our galaxy passing in a great arc overhead.

We don't see enough of that in the city, where only the brightest stars shine in a pink glow of pseudo-night and the Milky Way is something kids only learn about in books. But deep in the heart of Texas (ok, south of that a bit), the skies are indeed big and bright, and there kids and anyone else can look up and see the sights that certainly must have started it all.

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