Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Quiet Magic of Winter Skies




The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.”  

                                 Haruki Murakami,  

He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.  

                                 John Burroughs   


   Around 5:30 PM a wonderful curtain of darkness comes down and settles in, and for some 13 or 14 hours we are in the grip of one of the most dramatic and beautiful scenes on the planet-the winter night sky in the Northern Hemisphere. That seasonal combination of the absence of leaves on the trees, the sheer number of hours of darkness, the presence of so many dramatic constellations, and the visibility of the planets makes the winter sky among my favorite celestial happenings. Yes, there are nights when it is cloudy and not much seems visible, but even then the greys have their subtle shades and shapes that seem mysterious. And when the sky is cloudless, then things are amazingly stark and dramatic. Even in the city, with our overwhelmingly electric presence, nature's lights in the sky still stand out. Some of the constellations are clear and almost shouting in their brightness. They are wonders to behold. The moon is also clear and bright. The crescent and quarter moons give way to a new moon by the end of the first full week of January. The Full Moon will occur on January 25th, and this too will be easily and proudly visible. Plainly visible for the month is Jupiter, high overhead and in the northwest sky. And then there is the comet, Catalina appearing in the middle of January and visible with binoculars as it passes by the Big Dipper  


   These are all treats and wonders for us to observe, and they all remind me of the wonderfully paradoxical position of humans in this universe. When you think of it, we are really quite insignificant when you observe all that is going on around and above us. I mean, there is Jupiter or a comet, and then there is us. There is so much that is beyond our power and scope. But we are also powerful because we can observe, think about, and make some type of order out of all of this. We can even name these things. That too is amazing-we are simultaneously powerless and powerful. And we also get to stand back and enjoy it all.  


    So even if what is happening on the earth seems strange and out of place, the sky provides us with some certainty and plenty of beauty and enjoyment. We can get outside, look up and have an immediate immersion in the wonder of winter. Look up, watch, and enjoy it. It is quietly miraculous  



Johnny Never & John Colgan-Davis winners of the DE Regional IBC    

Sunday, January 7 the Delawre Veterans Post; 129 Pear st; Dover, DE The second and final fundraiser for our trip to the Mephis IBC is January 7th at “Delaware Veterans Post #2”; 129 Pear Street, Dover, DE. It runs from noon until 5PM. There will be great live music provided by some of the best blues artists around including Roger Girke, Jimmy Pritchard, Harmonica Slim, Diamond Jim Greene, and The Johns. For more info go to    

And if you can’t make the concert but still want to donate, there is a “Donate” button at that link. Thank you all so much. It is a joy to

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