Sunday, June 21, 2015

Once in a 'blue moon'... shimmers of brilliance shine through!

In 1898, my mom's Dad was born on July 21, coincidentally the first day of summer and Father's Day this year (2015). I didn't know him all that well because he died when I was just 2 years old, in 1965. Nevertheless, I have always felt close to him... apparently we had some special times of which they were many stories told many times over - and thankfully a few pictures. I'm honored that he got to know me, the first of his 5 grandchildren.

First sunrise of summer 2015 - from Crystal Park
Carl Henry Rucker loved a mountain retreat called Crystal Park as much as I do still today. Being a land dealer, he managed to purchase those pristine 2000 acres of prime undeveloped real estate at the foot of Pikes Peak back in the 1950s. It's hard to believe that I've been enjoying summers (t)here for over 50 years now! The developments brought about by the present day community enable me to write - and post - this snip from nearly 9000' above Colorado Springs.

Again coincidentally, the summer solstice sometimes falls on June 20, the day over 9 years ago now that we made time to 'stand still' to reflect upon and celebrate my Dad's life: May 13, 1929 - June 17, 2006. A simple google search shed more light on the nature of the solstice. "Solstice" is a word that means "sun" and "staying," or the sun standing still. While on other days the sun seems to move in the sky, on the solstice it doesn't. In terms of the planet's revolution, the sun is farthest away from the Earth during the North Hemisphere's summer and closest during its winter. Check out your shadow, around noon on the solstice it will be the smallest it'll get all year. That puts things into perspective, eh?

Prospector Joe!
Joe Carl Nix wore many 'hats' in his day, including that of prospector on sunny summer Crystal Park days. Also known as 'the gem of Pikes Peak' (or even 'of the Rockies' according to some), Crystal Park got its name from the many quartz and gemstone crystals that I find without effort on hikes; their smooth faces glint and glimmer after an afternoon rain. A truly good Texan by choice, Dad brought me - and my 2 brothers as they joined the camp - to Colorado every summer I can remember. Mom got a break and would fly up for a week or so since she had 'done' plenty of summer 'time' on the mountain in her youth. Most anyone can imagine how great it was for us to ride in the '48 Willys-Overland 'Jeep', catch/clean/cook rainbow trout from the lake, and just be kids... We just had to be back at the cabin by dark in those days. It's truly a wonder we - and the Front Range - survived!

My dad and I made some great memories on this mountain. He took a deep interest in each of my interests - which made them all the more interesting to all! While I usually 'remember the moments, not the days', that summer night we stood on the front porch and looked at the moon together could have happened just last night. Yes, that was July 20, 1969. Even though it was a waxing crescent, we were so close that I am convinced we both saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking around up there! Only recently have I begun to realize that adults need summer 'vacations' just as much as their kids do... I've always been connected to this land, but have just now been able to share it with my close friends in meaningful ways. It thrills my soul that they 'get' even a gleam of what it means to me. Being still 'above it all', literally puts life into a personal perspective.

In sorting through some of my Dad's things, I came across one of his many poems. He wrote this one (in a lovely, perfectly cared for, leather journal with gold-edged paper) at the old Rucker-Nix cabin in Crystal Park, overlooking Manitou Springs, CO, circa 1973.

Star tracing by R Nix, at the 'new' cabin in Crystal Park

Stars over Colorado, by Joe C Nix

To catch a glimpse of the stars so bright
From Crystal Park mountain in the night
Makes me realize the source of power and might
The insignificance of Watergate and Presidential power fright.

Look down below to man’s creation,
The twinkling lights and all their revelation
Fills me with pride, awe and adoration.

Look up to the cloudless sky
Unfolded is the majesty of the heavens as they fly
Not concerned with energy, inflation, and problems many
For their lights will shine forth with plenty.

Just to see the majestic sight
Creates in me a renewed delight
To know the winner in this earthly fight
Is he who walks in God’s Holy Light.

Unfortunately, this July 20 the moon will be in its first quarter, just after the new moon. But, perhaps even more fittingly, July 2015 can boast the blue moon! A 'misinterpretation' led to the 'blue moon' being a second full moon in a month of the common calendar. Owing to the rarity of a blue moon, the term 'blue moon' often is used colloquially to mean a rare event, as in the phrase "once in a blue moon"... an appropriate characterization of the lives of both my mom's Dad and my Dad.

No comments:

Post a Comment