Photo credit: alittlecampy.com Beyond the instant recollection of the melody of Don McLean’s famous song dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh and his iconic painting, Starry Starry Night, just these mere words stir up deep inside most of us the warm, nostalgic feeling we get when we sit under nature’s starry canopy on a crisp winter night. This is yet another wonderful gift of nature for which we are grateful for this season of gratitude the power and calm of the skies above us and the twinkling universe beyond. Whether we enjoy starry nights at campgrounds in the Rocky, Sierra Nevada or Pacific Northwest Mountains, or under a desert sky from a red sandstone ledge in Canyon Lands, we get that same feeling that stays with us for years. And most often, a memory of special times shared with past or present friends and loved ones. With today’s outdoor living technology, we can capture those moments and create lasting memories every day of the year – summer and winter and every night in between. And it doesn't take loading the car and driving out of town as it can happen simply by stepping outside your door. Wonderful winter nights can be created in any size and style of yard with a little imagination. Here’s some ideas: Flickering Flames: No stargazing is complete without a small fire to add warmth and romance. If you install a gas fire pit, you can adjust the glow of the flames easily to avoid adding too much light which can distract from viewing constellations and the Milky Way. Futons on the green: Its' hard to sit in a wicker chair and look up at the sky without straining your neck muscles no matter what age you are. Try creating a viewing area in your yard with a futon that you can flatten at night for comfortable star gazing. Look for weather proof materials and coverings. Create a viewing area in a corner of your yard away from the house so you don’t have light interference and create a better sense of being “away” from it all. Artificial turf will make a great surface as it won’t retain moisture that can make it difficult to keep furniture safe from the rusting or rotting. Water in the Woods: Ever sat a by a water fall at night? Bridal falls in Yosemite Park is famous for its Moon Bow, a mystic reflection of moonlight in the cascading falls. But more than the glow of the water at night is the enhanced sound of the falls you get at night when your sense of hearing is at its peak. Water features take on a new coziness at night, under the stars, adding yet another element that takes your mind away from it all, and lets you relax even more before bed time. No matter if you live in the city, the suburbs, or in the middle of a forest in a beautiful mountain range, you can enjoy the present and make meaningful memories, as powerful as Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night, daily!