In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Friday, February 27, 2009


We are surrounded by darkness here. There is no ambient light. Nothing mediates our experience of the sky on a moonless, cloudless night. It is beautiful, yes, stunningly so. In summer I gaze upward in awe and swear I'll learn more constellations so I can understand a bit of this overhead wildness, get my bearings and find my way around. 

It's just the tiniest shift, though, from awe to terror. In winter the stars are cold glittering points, beaming messages billions of years late from a place that no longer exists. The night sky swirls and dips and lurches. Constellations swing from place to place, planets reel across the heavens, the moon rises and sets in random places along the edge of a dark looming endless bowl. The Milky Way slides across the sky from angle to angle, a loose belt in the engine of the universe. There is nothing you can count on up there, except for a cold glitter coming to you forever from before time began. 

The immensity of this unmediated sky disorients and terrifies me. The stars remind me of that essential dust which is my beginning and my end. Remember you are dust, the stars sing silently. On cold starry nights I'd rather be inside.     

But then it's also just the tiniest shift from terror to awe. Their cosmic song is a promise of some unimaginable goings-on beyond our ephemeral selves.  The starry night will receive our dust, our molecules, our glittering motes and beams, and we shall be at once nothing at all and at one with all, as it all swirls on. 


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