Monday, August 21, 2017

Looking at the Sky

It seems we are all a bit obsessed with the solar eclipse that will travel across the U.S. today. In my part of Kansas, we'll only experience a partial eclipse. But that didn't prevent a run on eclipse viewing glasses in Central Kansas. When I was in Hutchinson last week, I went to five different stores, trying to find the special viewing glasses. I had no luck, even at the Cosmosphere. I guess we'll settle for Randy's welding helmet.

It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a fact TV newscasters have been telling us all summer. (So I should have looked for eclipse glasses earlier, right?!) Not many people are still around who would have experienced the last one in the U.S. On June 8, 1918, a total solar eclipse crossed the United States from Washington State to Florida in a path similar to today's event. That was the last time totality crossed the nation from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

I guess eclipse glasses were a "thing" back in 1918, too. This ad from The Denver Post was found on The Great American Eclipse website.
Looking to the sky is nothing new for me. Though we don't often experience this phenomenon when the Sun, Moon and Earth line up in just this way, I am always fascinated with the sky. I love the sunrise, the sunset and the daily variety of clouds and sky.

Once I get past the shelterbelt trees west of our house, a summer sunset in my part of Kansas pretty much stretches from horizon to horizon with very little interruption. I love the beautiful and unique nightly masterpieces created on our Kansas plains, where the only interruption in the sea of color is a strategically-placed tree or windmill to create a silhouette.
In the past month or so, I've gotten to experience new sunset views as we've traveled away from the farm.
When we were in Estes Park, I told Randy I wanted to witness a sunset in the Rockies. We arrived at the Lake Estes walking path one evening during our Colorado stay.
It was a beautiful evening as we walked the path along Lake Estes. The calm lake surface reflected the mountains and the sky (and some high-line poles, but they were easily ignored). 
Wildflowers decorated the riverbanks of the Big Thompson River in a few places, adding visual beauty to the musical notes of water rushing over rock.
Looking away from the sun, we were rewarded with the beauty of the so-called golden hour and a view of the 9-hole golf course where Randy had played. 
Later, geese impersonated actors in a old-time Western, as they left the Lake Estes Golf Course and traveled off toward the sunset. I thought sunset would happen more quickly in the Mountain Time Zone. But it seemed to be on a lazy tourist schedule, and it took its own sweet time.
Worth the wait? Though the backlit cloud bank seemed to create another level of Rocky Mountain "high," I think Kansas sunsets have the Colorado version beat. But I'm still glad we did it.

Then, from August 11 to 13, we traveled to Chicago for a wedding reception for my sister, Darci, and her husband, Andrew. On our first night in the big city, they invited us to their apartment for Greek food, a nod to their actual nuptials in Greece.
When we arrived, I snapped a photo of the view from their balcony.
Their apartment faces east, so they don't have a direct sunset view. But as the sun started to set, we still experienced "sunset" through the reflections on the buildings. 
And I completed the trilogy with a snapshot after dark, but I could still see the remnants of the sun reflected on some wispy clouds (in the upper righthand side of the photo).
It just proves there is beauty to be found, no matter the location. But I always love the quiet solitude and the ever-changing colors of sunset on the Kansas plains.


I think I prefer the daytime glimpses of the mountains. Here are a few "leftovers" from my previous Colorado posts.
 Mountain view before rain shower

One day, we had planned to drive to Beaver Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  However, as I like to say, nature was full. The parking lot for that particular spot was at capacity and they were turning back vehicles. We don't know what we missed, but we did see the beautiful Moraine Park. 

The valley was once the melting basin of the Thompson Glacier. The huge mass of ice deposited loads of rock debris or lateral moraines that are now the forested ridges.
I'm a fan of leftovers - whether they simplify the next meal or provide another glimpse of God's beautiful creation.

I have been on a bit of a hiatus from Kim's County Line, so this post may seem a mishmash of photos and thoughts. I hope to get back on a more regular schedule after my gallivanting about! 


  1. I just love the evening colours of the sky, even if it isn't always dramatic. We face east, but because of our open vista, get to witness many special sunsets.
    Your Kansas sunsets are quite spectacular. I just love the cloud formation in your final photo.

    1. Thanks, Helen. Kind of like fingerprints, the skies and clouds are never quite the same.

  2. thank you for this your broadcast provided bright clear concept..