Star Walk

On one hand I like the end of daylight savings time- you get to push the clocks back an hour and for one blessed night you feel this delicious sense of being given free time.  You could stay up and watch mindless television and not feel guilty because you think oh! I got that extra hour and you set your clock back with the bravado of some old western gunslinger whipping out a craftily concealed derringer.  Or if you’re like me this year you think SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP {only the voice in your head sounds eerily like a zombie moaning for brains brains brains} and you greedily jump  into bed to literally wrap yourself into the luxuriousness of that extra hour.

But on the other hand, after that first initial night there’s something ridiculously annoying about the sun setting before 6 pm.  Some days I’m still getting dinner on the table and yet outside night swoops in and leaves me feeling rushed and discombobulated.

I think I’m more bothered by it because we had finally worked out a fairly regular routine: homeschooling, naps, meals, playdates- things had finally hit a sort of comfortable stride. So I’ve been really getting irritated come 5 pm when twilight encroaches and starts breathing down my neck.

The other day I caught myself losing my patience with the girls.  It was after six o’clock; the sun had set.  It was dark and I felt like it we should be seguing into our nighttime routines yet my girls were nowhere near ready for the “calm” before the sheets.  They were not in the mood to read or play quietly.  They weren’t even up for a movie.  They were rambunctious.

Right at this moment Howard called me from work to say that I should take the girls out to see Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury in the night sky.  I almost declined.  I was feeling lazy.  It was cold.  The girls were rowdy.  But then I realized those were really all just excuses and now would be a perfect time.

I told the girls we were going to take a nighttime stroll to look out at the stars.  Their reaction- squeals and bursts of genuine happiness- made my night.

Mira immedietely ran to their science kits and pulled out a cheap pair of binoculars and said she would bring those since daddy didn’t have his telescope out.  Stella immediately followed suit and grabbed her Faraday flashlight but when she discovered it wasn’t working she traded it out for something else. . .  I just went with it.

In their eyes the blackness of the night meant that it was “way-late-o’clock”.  They felt like they were sneaking out into the world while everyone else was peacefully dozing in their beds for the night.  Mira and Stella would giggle and try to shush Lyra whenever she would squeal loudly.  To them it was a secret nocturnal adventure.

I pointed out the planets and used the Google Sky app on my phone to correctly name the stars that the girls pointed out (don’t judge me- I have to do what I can when Howard’s astronomically savvy self isn’t home!).  I did take his trusty green laser pointer so I could easily point out distant objects to the girls with pinpoint accuracy.

Mira spotted Vega and was excited to learn that it resides in the constellation Lyra.  She was a bit disappointed that her 16month old sister Lyra wasn’t that impressed.

After looking up for awhile we turned our attention to the ground and found numerous creepy crawlies for which the girls were excited and I feigned interest.

We strolled up and down the sidewalk laughing and pointing out interesting things.  At one point we all tried to remain perfectly quiet to listen to the sounds of the night.  We were all sitting facing one another on the sidewalk straining our ears to be the first to hear a new night sound.  In that moment I really gazed at my girls and my heart swelled with indescribable heart-bursting pride. Mira was so studiously attentive to the act of listening; Stella looked ridiculously adorable with those safety goggles covering two-thirds of her face; and Lyra’s large eyes were peering intently from her sister’s faces to my own with such joy and wonder.

I love these girls.

I’m going to steal the night back from daylight savings time (or is it standard time now?) In any event, I’m reclaiming our post-dinner time together.  We’re going to make Star Walks a regular part of our fall season.

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3 Responses to Star Walk

  1. Pam says:

    What a fun idea to make a habit of it. I love the photo of your daughters. My the folks at my house look like that a lot.

  2. What lucky girls to get to spend time outdoors at night observing and learning about the night sky! I wish we had started doing this earlier with our boys. We now take a once a month visit to the local observatory and we are learning so much! Popping in from Trivium Tuesday.

  3. Amy says:

    How precious! I took my kids out once this year…but it’s just so coooold here and I honestly don’t know what I’m looking at. I really need to try something like that Google Sky. Does that work for apple stuff? Or is there something comparable? We don’t even have smart phones, but we do have an itpod touch…I’d have to see how far I could reach and still be connected to out internet. Thanks for linking this up to Trivium Tuesdays!

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