When one of my sons was a child, he came home from grade school art class with a newfound love of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. That year we gave him a framed print of Starry Night for his birthday. I recall being amazed that an 8-year-old was so captivated by a painting completed in the 1800’s. Just that one painting, no others impressed him. That print hung in his room for many years. Even though I have been fascinated with the night sky and space since I was a child, looking at that Starry Night print though his eyes, helped me to see new beauty in art that I had not seen before.
In my 40’s, a love of photography that started when I was a teen was reignited when my husband blessed me with a “Christmas camera”. Since then, I have discovered one of my favorite subjects is the night sky. The thrill of photography, combined with the peace of a quiet night and the awe of my God who created it, makes for an experience that moves my soul.
This past November, I was excited for the opportunity to capture a lunar eclipse. It was the longest eclipse since 1440 and the peak of the eclipse was to occur approximately 4am, so I prepared my gear the evening before. Even though I am by no means an early bird, when the alarm went off at 3:20am, I sprung out of bed like a kid at Christmas and flung the curtains wide open to this!
Boom! It really did feel like a bit of a sucker punch from the weatherman who said we’d have clear skies!
The eclipse was followed in December, by the conjunction of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus. This did not get as much press as the “Christmas Star”, the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction, of last December, but it was so beautiful! Once again, the weatherman was predicting clear skies for the following evening, so I took him at his word and prepared to go the next night.
This time the weatherman made good on his word. As the sun set, the night sky came to life one twinkle at a time on a rare, clear winter night. At one point, we were so excited to see what we thought was a huge shooting star, but the “Skyview” app revealed it was the International Space Station streaking through the long exposure frame 😊.
It was a cold, but joyful experience, to be out in the peaceful night, to look up into the heavens, to say a quiet prayer. Yet again, as I stood there under His magnificent display, I was grateful that he is God and I am his.
“Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”Nehemiah 9:5b-6 (NIV)