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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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Excerpt from an unpublished essay

I used to do a lot of stargazing when I was a child. The Upper Midwest is great for that because the plains are so flat and the heavens so grand. As a boy, my father would take us to his childhood home at least once a year. Sometimes it was during the winter holidays, sometimes during the summertime. It’s a place on the prairie not far from where South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota meet. The farm he grew up on is still in operation. Two of my uncles still milk cows and raise hogs and cattle. They don’t know anything about graphic design but have intimate knowledge of the seasons and the animals and nature in general. All they know of graphic design is that “city folks” do it.

I remember “helping” milk cows in the evenings during the winters. The term helping is loosely used, for my brothers and I didn’t really milk anything. We would follow the uncles out to the barn and watch the cows enter the stanchions and then observe our uncles go about their business as dairy farmers. The barn was warm, the cows smelly, the work hard (hauling buckets of milk to the main holding tank was all we could really do) but the reward was leaving the barn and standing out in the yard under the dazzling canopy of heaven. The cold night air would force our gloved hands deeper into our coats as we’d look east at the radio towers’ red blinking lights.

The stars were exceptionally bright in that part of my life. The Big Dipper was the first constellation I looked for on those nights. Find true north by locating Polaris was all part of the wonder and awe of those childhood days on the farm where my father was born and raised. I later learned about Orion and the Pliedes and Taurus, but true north was always first.

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  1. Anonymous Dismarum | 1:25 AM, February 12, 2006 |  

    I miss stargazing, save for the few minutes I get running from my car to inside my house. West Texas has abnormally clear winter skies - they almost look surreal - but the 22°F temp and average 30 mph winds make it hard to go out.

    I'm waiting for spring. =)

  2. Blogger Faith | 9:46 AM, February 12, 2006 |  

    One of these days I'll own one of those expensive home telescopes. I love to look at the stars.

  3. Blogger zhoen | 11:41 AM, February 12, 2006 |  

    The North is Great.

    Shooting stars over the badlands, lying on my back in a sleeping bag watching.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:33 PM, February 12, 2006 |  

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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