The Milky Way and a Juniper Tree

The Milky Way Galaxy
Sony A7r|Zeiss Loxia 21mm|f2.8|20s|ISO 3200

Last Chance Milky Way

It was going to be my last chance this season to capture the Milky Way in a prime location of the sky.  I’d been tied up with other things until just a few days ago so it was either do it now or wait until next June.  I chose to do it now!

Here in southwest Oklahoma there aren’t any large urban areas that completely wash out the night sky with light pollution, but it only takes a few street lights to do the damage.  It’s a two hour drive to the most remote and darkest spot I know of in these parts:  a spot only ten miles from the Texas panhandle; A spot dominated more by red berry juniper trees than mesquite trees.

As the sun sank low on the western horizon, I became the object of curiosity for several free ranging cows and their calves.  I was relieved once the curious calves’ were satisfied and their moms decided the grass must be greener someplace else.  A half-dozen “bull bats” (nighthawks) swooped through the sky chasing insects scared into flight by the cattle.  Occasionally their swooping and diving created the loud bull-like sound from whence they get their nickname.  A lone coyote trotted down the road, briefly glanced in my direction, then continued on its way unconcerned by my presence.

Shadows grew longer and darkness began to fall across the landscape.  The cattle had gathered for the night and gentle lowing could be heard in the distance.  The lone coyote had joined the pack and their yelps were filling the night.  First one star, then another, began to pop out from its celestial hiding place.  Excitement began to build from somewhere deep within.  My pulse quickened with anticipation of the scene about to unfold.  Before long the heavens had opened opened to reveal the sparkling treasures above.

Alone with GOD and His creation, I was at peace, feeling content, and truly blessed!

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