Yes, it was historic. And yes, it was a storm that lived up to it’s billing. But was anyone else out late Wednesday night?  

I had a little more digging to do, and so about 11 o’clock I went out to finish it off.  The sky was absolutely clear, and there wasn’t even a wisp of wind.  It wasn’t even terribly cold – the frigid weather hadn’t whip-sawed into town just yet. It was a beautiful winter night.

Orion merrily chased Taurus into the west, the Pleaides cheering him on. Chipping away at waist deep snowdrifts is tedious work, and I took more than my requisite shares of breaks just to stop and admire the night sky.  I reflected on the memory of the scene a mere 24 hours earlier. The blizzard winds – out of the east no less – were jaw-dropping and unsettling. (Readers in the Dakotas can quit their snickering. This was a big deal around here)  

Yesterday in my travels I learned that there are now something like 1200 new planets they’ve discovered recently.  Now that was something to ponder during my work day. My shoveling labors continued later on under a brilliant blue winter sky. The sun tilted slowly towards the west, and as I shoveled I wondered what these other worlds were like.

Maybe someday humans will discover that “other Earth”, which will be jolly good news until the reality sets in that it’s a million light years away.  And what will we do then?  Will we keep looking out and up, or will we take a good look around here? And maybe it was fatigue but at that point I was grateful for all the snow, the cold air on my face, and the star receding over the afternoon horizon.              

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Dave Coulter

I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...