Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘sunset

Painted Skies

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One of many fond memories I have of home during my adolescence is the variety of magazines that showed up in our mailbox. I’m guessing I have my father to thank for this. Weekly, I paged through Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated for exposure to the latest images and trends. I remember exploring Popular Mechanics, or was it Popular Science? Probably both. There was Reader’s Digest and a few along the lines of Good Housekeeping, likely for Mom’s benefit, to which I paid a little less attention.

For a spell, there was Arizona Highways with its glorious pictures of colorful western sunsets. I suppose that contributed to a perspective that Arizona was the place where that happened. Obviously, that perception has carried through to now because that magazine came to mind when Cyndie offered me photos she took of yesterday’s sunset and this morning’s sunrise.









Beldenville, Wisconsin. Land of painted skies…




Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2020 at 10:18 am

Looking Forward

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I am looking forward to the sun setting once and for all on unethical leadership,

on hidden financial arrangements of people in government,

on blatant disinformation and deliberate distortion of reality,

on mocking in any form by someone holding office,

on bullying, period,

on misogyny,

on racism,

white supremacy,



on holier than thou hypocrisies,

on gaslighting,

on selfish disdain for the real suffering of others,

on the belittling of science and those who hold degreed expertise,

on the denial of climate science and the impact of industrialization,

on juvenile petty behavior,

on misuse of funds, privileges, technologies, information,

on complete disregard for protocols,

on profiteering, scamming, swindling, nepotism and cronyism,

on corruption in any form in the United States government.

Why, why would anyone ever support any of that, let alone all of it in one administration over four short years?


Lest we forget the horrors




Written by johnwhays

November 4, 2020 at 7:00 am

Purple Sky

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I’ve seen some amazing images of what the daylight looks like in Oregon and California this week with the smoke from all the fires. We don’t have anything like that here, but something gave our sunset some added color last night.

Was it the filter of light all the way from the west coast?

While heat and flames were raging across the states in the west, Minnesota set a record for the lowest maximum temperature on September 9 yesterday. We may have areas of frost by the time the day dawns this morning.

What a difference location makes.


Written by johnwhays

September 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Night Sky

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Last week, Cyndie and I wandered down the driveway to the high spot beside the hayfield about a half-hour after the sunset to watch the stars come out. We were seeking to view the comet, Neowise as it appeared to our northwest. It was the time of night when the mosquitos were thrilled to welcome our presence.

For that reason alone, I chose to remain standing (and walking back and forth) on the pavement instead of stirring up any additional flying terrorists from the fields on either side.

As the duskiness progressed, I struggled to perceive stars that Cyndie was noticing. The first spot of light I picked out was the planet Jupiter according to the night sky app on my phone. I was surprised about how long it seemed to take for the stars to appear even though we enjoy a luxury of having very little in the way of local nighttime light pollution.

It quickly became apparent to me that my peripheral vision was picking up more specific starlight than my direct gaze. That became my trick to spot Neowise before Cyndie did, just about a full hour after sunset.

It was the tail of the comet that my off-center vision detected. It stood out uniquely compared to the individual dots of light from stars. Once we knew exactly where to look, our binoculars provided valuable magnification to fully appreciate the view of Neowise.

By the time it showed up, we’d been staring at the sky so long my neck was tired, my back and ears were over-stimulated by mosquito irritations, and my eyes wanted to be asleep, so we didn’t linger long enough for the view to glow with adequate visibility for a photograph.

The reward of having looked directly at something passing through our inner solar system which wouldn’t return for many lifetimes (estimated 6,766 years from now) was plenty.

I was ready for bed.



Written by johnwhays

July 25, 2020 at 10:16 am

Retreating Snowpack

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Wave goodbye. The snow cover over our fields is fading fast. It is fascinating to watch it slowly progress, day by day as the hours of sunlight grow longer and the temperatures moderate. Winter is loosening its grip on our latitude of the northern hemisphere.

The ground is making its annual reappearance. It is also heaving dramatically where the frost was deep, pushing fence posts and chicken coops to new misalignments. Seriously, the coop has leaned another few inches since I last wrote about it. It’s the new leaning tower of Wintervale.

The trails are rising up in a bizarre center crown where our constant foot traffic packed the path solid all winter and drove the frost deeper than the surrounding earth. I don’t understand the physics of why it pushes up so much in the spring, but I’ve watched it for enough years now that I accept it as a regular routine.

One year it was so pronounced that I worried it would be a challenge to drive the 4-wheeler without bottoming out on the high ground between the wheel ruts. After a few days of thawing, the center of the trail surprisingly flattened out like nothing out of the ordinary had ever occurred. If I hadn’t watched the changes every single day when walking Delilah, I wouldn’t have had a clue about it.

On the subject of walking Delilah, if I hadn’t been so pressured by her to go out at sunset at the expense of finishing the movie I’d started during dinner, I would have missed the brilliance of Venus glowing all by itself in the western sky over the gorgeous orange glow radiating just along the horizon. The glow transitioned impeccably from that deep orange to a faint yellow that became an infinite variety of baby blues to almost black as the sky made its way toward night.

Opposite the bright spec of Venus, the waxing moon was on full brightness in the east, starting to cast tree shadows on the snow before darkness had barely started to establish its dominance.

I owe Delilah a debt of gratitude for allowing me to experience that early evening show as we waved goodbye to the day.

Frankly, the movie I had been watching didn’t hold a candle to the twilight scenes available outside.



Written by johnwhays

March 7, 2020 at 7:00 am

Cold Now

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If we thought winter was coming on a little quick and fierce last week, today it has moved to another level of harsh. Single-digit cold temperatures are not a very friendly way for winter to show up and say hello.

So much for getting to know her first.

We have entered the period when any mechanical device that may have functioned normally in moderate temperatures is now being taxed to the brink of failing to function at all. When I attempted to back out of my parking space like usual after work yesterday, my car protested with unexpected sluggishness.

Oh, yeah. It had been sitting out all day in the Arctic chill. I forgot it’s no longer business as usual outside.

The flurries of snow that fell over the weekend hardly stayed on the ground. There was a small corner patch of the driveway that was the first to freeze and collect snow. The rest of the pavement still held enough residual ground warmth to melt the flakes that landed there.

That won’t be a problem any longer. At these temperatures, the asphalt is plenty cold now.

Our landscape pond is solid ice. If it wasn’t so small, we could use it as a skating rink.

The leaves might make the surface a little rough, though.

The cold air makes for a beautiful evening sky. Cyndie took this picture when making a trip to the chicken coop to close the door for the night. We have the water tanks plugged in to keep them from freezing, but the hens have to fend for themselves to keep warm. They are all winter-hardy breeds and fluff their feathers up in comical poofs of a genuine down coat to stave off the cold.

The coop provides shelter from the wind where they can smoosh together on the roost overnight to share their body warmth. I never watched to notice if the ones on the end are given a turn in the middle at some point. Seems only fair.

The harsh cold we are getting blasted with today is a fine ‘how-do-you-do?’ from winter, but maybe we can look at it as a bit of tough love that will serve us well as the season progresses.

After this start, returning to normal temperatures for November will feel absolutely tolerable!




Written by johnwhays

November 12, 2019 at 7:00 am

Pink Clouds

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That’s it. That’s all I got. Cyndie sent me this photo she took of pink clouds two nights ago and I think it’s gorgeous. I’ve got nothing more to add.




Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2019 at 6:00 am

Winter Evening

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Although February was a difficult month of winter weather for our region, I’ll mark today’s change of calendar with an image of the beauty that comes along with weeks of heavy snow.

Thank you to Cyndie for capturing and sharing this scene.

Happy March !



Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2019 at 7:00 am

Please Stop

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Just make it stop. Please.

When I stepped out of work yesterday, this is how my car looked:

It was snowing again, perfectly timed with the beginning of the afternoon drive. Lovely. Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed.

My commute home started well enough, considering the low visibility and slippery road surfaces, but in short order, progress slowed to stop-and-go, rolling along at a snail’s pace. That tedious speed lasted for more than an hour, during which I enjoyed a deep meander through my prized digital music collection on my phone.

With little in the way of driving decisions required, my mind was free to pay greater than normal attention to the music of my memories that was flowing from my car speakers. It served as adequate distraction from how extra-long the commute was taking, until the flow finally opened up and vehicles started moving at dangerous speeds again.

Somehow, I was able to steer clear of the two lunatics who were unsatisfied with the reasonable movement in the left lane and decided to race ahead in other lanes to cut back into the left again, disrupting everyone’s safety. One of them chose to cut off me, without the courtesy of a turn signal.

The other picked a driver who chose to “fight back” with a classic road rage tactic of “tit for tat,” racing ahead to cut back in front of the first jerk.

No problem, it gave me a chance to slow down even more to grant them plenty of space to take their grudge well ahead and away from me.

Beyond those two scares, the only other challenges of disaster I narrowly avoided happened to be three separate incidents of police and highway patrol cars precariously parked to protect vehicles that had crashed and spun out.

It took me twice as long to get home, but I did arrive without calamity.

Shortly after, the falling snow stopped, and the sun even appeared for a couple of brief glimpses before setting.

I’m going to visualize this as having been the last snowy drive I will suffer for the rest of the season. To help start this new run of luck in my favor, my goal this weekend (like it was on Tuesday, last), is to simply avoid driving my car at all over the entire weekend.

Here’s hoping I achieve that humble objective.



Written by johnwhays

February 15, 2019 at 7:00 am

Couple Shots

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I was granted the honor of walking our trash and recycling bins down to the road with Delilah yesterday, and at the high spot of the driveway, beside the hay-field, we paused to take in the sunset, as well as the line sculptures getting carved in the snow by the bitter wind.

It was photo worthy.




Written by johnwhays

February 1, 2019 at 7:00 am