ESCANABA - Winter skies at night beckon to the bewhiskered bobcat. It's time to go a wandering in the snowy wild lands in search of rodents.
Winter skies at night and the moonlight on the snow commence the coyotes to start singing.
The starlight makes diamonds on the snow. In the romantic woods and fields, skunks are proposing and the mating season is on.
Karen Wils photo
The serenity of a winter evening sky.
Winter nights in Upper Michigan are long. So when February shortens them a bit, folks enjoy the orange setting sun and the creeping blue shadows of night.
There are lots of places to savor the beauty of a winter's night sky. Out on the ski or snowshoe trail is about a perfect place to stop, look up and get lost among the many stars. For a few minutes, while you catch your frosty white breath, you can stare up into the heaves.
As you glaze from north to south, each star seems to twinkle a little brighter calling you into its distant world.
Sunset from the ice fishing shanty can be a real pleasure too. Finally a perch nibbles, but outside the shack, the old orange sun turns red, losing ground to the night sky. After you reel-in that jumbo perch, you open the shack door in time to see the purple and black swallow up the waning sun.
"Red sky at night, sailors delight, and fishermen's too" is what you think as you plan to be back the next day.
Right outside the kitchen window is another perfectly wonderful place to watch for wonderful winter night skies.
With the days work done and most of the family snug in their beds, how nice it is to take a quick reprieve from the everyday world. From the warmth of our window, look above the baron treetops, into the moonlit sky. Does a corona circle the moon like a giant halo? Does that mean snow is coming? Do turquoise, indigo, and amber smears of light dance in the northern sky? Is it aurora borealis?
"The middle of nowhere" is a very nice place to enjoy the nighttime sky, and Upper Michigan offers a lot of "middles of nowhere".
I have a favorite photo of camp. (And I have millions of camp pictures) In it the silvery moon is pasted above the blackened arms of the baron maples. A winter star stands out in the sky luring me home. The early evening sky is twilight blue and the golden glow from the gaslight is so welcoming after an icy day in the woods.
A comforting wood smoke curls out of the chimney.
Behind me, a tree makes a cracking sound as the frigid air squeezes and the barred owl laughs "whoot whoot, whoot, whooo."
The owl and I pray:
Give us the stars
And moon so bright
Grant us the taste
Of winter's night
And if the moon clouds over
Our northern gratitude
Will always show
Karen (Rose)?Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.