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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Buckley

Happy Lunar New Year!

The Lunar New Year begins Feb. 12th in 2021, a new year we hope holds promise, in spite of current challenges.

It's called the Lunar New Year because it marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars traditional to many east Asian countries including China, South Korea, and Vietnam, which are regulated by the cycles of the moon and sun.

As I write this with an ice storm raging outside, I know there will be no stargazing for most of us in Texas and many in the US in the throes of a winter vortex.

For friends in California and New Mexico (and other locales not caught in the arctic blast) February is a wonderful month for stargazers. It’s arguably the best week of the year for looking up since the night sky in the northern hemisphere never gets darker, nor as crisp. Nor does it ever have as many bright, shining stars as in February— so get outside (if you can!) to a dark place, and check-out the constellations of Orion, Taurus, the Pleiades and the other jewels of the winter night sky.

But here in the Texas Hill Country, our sky looks like it might snow, which is forecast for Sunday, Valentines Day.

Looking for inspiration during an ice storm can be challenging, but I realize what I see outside my window is stunningly beautiful in its frigid brilliance.

Everything is wrapped in a glittering sheen, igniting a response similar to what I felt recently when I saw the Milky Way for the first time, that of Yugen.

Yugen has its origins in the traditional Japanese aesthetics and is, strictly speaking “an untranslatable word.”

I love learning about it because it is how I feel when I look at the stars seeking to absorb the meaning of the cosmos.

Our journey with our little band of Stars at Night filmmakers in search of a way to connect as much as humanly possible with our Cosmos continues to make progress (but not without it’s set backs)

In late January, we interviewed the amazing Carolyn Boyd, Phd, artist and anthropologist who changed her career path to spend her life and career meticulously studying the White Shaman Mural to uncover the meaning behind it. Carolyn told wonderful stories of an ancient people of the Trans Pecos whose culture, creation myth, and daily life was deeply connected to the sun, the moon, and the stars. Carolyn concluded her interview by saying, “If I have one message for your audience, it’s to look up.”

This month we have applied for a Sundance documentary grant as well as the Wild Texas Film Tour grant, for which we are very hopeful.

So much so, we have booked reservations for the Chisos Mountain Lodge in the heart of the Big Bend for the new moon in June.

“It will all work out,” I tell my team with enthusiasm (which is free!) “How do I know?” they ask me? To quote the producer from Shakespeare in Love, “I don’t know, it’s a mystery!”

While we may be launching a crowd funding campaign soon, this month we are NOT asking our supporters for a donation to EAA and the Stars at Night, but to consider a donation to a local homeless shelter.

With temperatures dipping to single digits, it is a way to actually make a difference in this crazy world.

Thinking of how simple acts of kindness can create a feeling of Yugen as well.

Be well and be warm.

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