This time of year takes me aback. The colors of autumn have faded into camouflage for the birds. Brown is pale khaki, orange sickly, and yellows are like old paper. Now they lie beneath snow, and a cold wind controls the air, keeping the dark in place, it seems.

Each day is shorter, light diminishing as the sun hurries on its way, its path barely skimming the treetops. But we have the company of the planets in the east, Jupiter, Mars, Venus. Mercury already hides in the hint of early sunlight along the horizon at five-thirty. The moon hangs like a smile below their sparkle for a couple of days, and then moves on.

The morning march of planets angles upward, losing their brilliance in the coming of the sun. They’re invisible in the light of another day, waiting to shine when night falls again.





(Photo credit: Beckstrom Observatory, LLC. 2013-15)