We set the alarms and woke early to get the morning animal chores done before we left the farm. The sky was overcast, and it was pitch black as we made our rounds.

Greg wore his special cap with small headlights in the bill so he could see what he was doing. I carried my flashlight. In short time, we had finished the chores, and we left the farm, driving up the creek road.

The truck’s headlights shone on the trees to either side as we passed by, and it appeared to me that we were driving through a forested tunnel. I remember as a child that we would often pile into our parents’ green station wagon and leave the city for a day trip to the country.

On most of these trips, we would actually drive through a long tunnel that ran under the river just to the west of the city. Our creek tunnel is nothing like the tile-lined tunnel of my childhood, but the sense of excitement that I felt was just the same.

On this particular morning, we were heading north on a four-hour drive to another city to meet my marble-collecting friends in a far corner of the state.

We stopped just up the road to get coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and then properly ready, we were off, dreams of beautiful marbles dancing before my eyes.

It was a wonderful day, and I was so happy to meet and greet my friends and to be able to return home with a beautiful handcrafted marble, three inches in diameter, decorated with graceful colored swirls that, on close inspection, seemed to sparkle with flecks of stardust.

I held the marble in my lap as Greg drove. We passed the time on the road listening to music, and I confess that I did share pictures of the marble with my marble friends who had not been able to attend the event.

The trip passed quickly for me, but I was not driving.

My chauffeur, however, assured me that he was quite content driving. It was way past dark by the time we turned off on the creek road, and the thought of climbing up to the loft and simply crawling under the covers was almost overwhelming.

I was tired, very tired, but I knew that the loft would have to wait. We needed to make the animal rounds, make sure that there was fresh, unfrozen water for all, check that the birds were safe and secure inside their coops, gather the day’s eggs and feed the dogs.

I carefully placed my marble on the ground floor workbench and bent down to pull on my rubber boots. I reached for my leather work gloves, grabbed the egg basket and my flashlight and once again stepped outside. Greg was right behind me.

We walked out into the upper field, but halfway out to the animals, we stopped.

The night sky above the hill across the creek was covered with water-colored swaths of dark blue and gray.

There was not a single star to be seen in that half of the valley sky, but over our heads and to the west the sky was a clear black that glittered with thousands, if not millions, of stars.

Our familiar constellations were just passing over the hill behind the rabbit hutches. I felt almost dizzy, or perhaps it was giddy, with the amazingly beauty of the creek valley all around us, and it occurred to me how very fortunate we were to call this valley home, and yes, even how fortunate we were to stand there frozen, not by the chill temperature, but by the magic of the late country night.

Back inside, boots and gloves off, jacket hung, I took my flashlight over to the marble where it sat on my workbench.

I shone the light deep into its swirls, and yes, there were the stars I had just seen outside.

Without a doubt, this beautiful orb was home, and I smiled, ready for a good night’s sleep.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.