poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘binoculars

places off-planet #1 – watching the stars

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For me, star-gazing is a warm-weather activity.  The winter, although dazzling in its displays of stars, is too cold for my arthritic joints and the immobility of prolonged star study.

So, as May approaches, I am looking forward to spending some time outside, to locate some old friends in the sky and to meet some new sky-folk!

I am lucky to live in an area not overly polluted with night light.  At our home, although trees make viewing sporadic, stray light from street and yard lights is not a problem.  At our lake property, the surroundings are utterly dark and the sky is stunning, studded with stars.

If you want to do some stargazing, you need three things to get a good start:

  •      a star chart or a planisphere (a combination of a star chart and a viewer). My favourite planisphere is downloadable and printable, from the National Research Council at

  •      a reclining lawn chair (so you can relax and your neck will not ache)
  •      a flashlight with a clear red cover (this is to prevent your eyes from becoming light-adapted as you check the star-chart).

Another helpful item, to see groupings of stars more clearly, or to see details of the moon:

  •      a pair of binoculars

Are you a stargazer?  What are your favorite ‘tools-of-the-trade’?



the search for wind

and stars


these are not the winds I sought to stand in

I wanted a zephyr to ruffle the bluets in spring

a breeze to whip the silver wind chime to frenzy


instead I cower from night moans

the rattle at the window

the street where a dust daemon lurks

near every wall, lifts the leaves

grinds them to powder


I gaze at the skies

watch for Altair and Orion

the never- random pulse to signal man


but all the lights in the night sky

are not stars

the moon who solemn watches

as his face is peeled away

the comet drawing scant thoughts across darkness

its tears a storm of falling stars


I walk with sorrow

it rests behind the eyes

and cannot swell to tears


the truth so simple

yet impossible to know-

you need only stand

and the hill will form beneath your feet

and the roaring shrink

to the breath of love across your face


©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

April 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

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