At the Stars

I set out this evening for a brisk walk with a lot on my mind. This morning's fog lifted, the daytime breezes died, and night had fallen.

And with the darkness, came the stars. It took me a while to notice. For 20 minutes, I kept my focus on the side walks in front of me, occasionally looking up aware of the passing traffic. My gaze changed as I rounded a corner. In the sky before me, bright and undeniable, Ursa Major - the Big Dipper.

Captivated, I walked north for a while until I had broken free of the porch lights and street lamps of urban sprawl. No longer walking with my eyes on the path ahead, I was staring into the heavens.

The rest of my walk was dominated by thoughts of stars. They were once of source of wonder and amazement. Now I rarely notice their existence. How long has it been since I stared into the beautiful expanse above us? I went stargazing during my junior high years with my brother and a mutual friend who was working on a project for her astronomy class. Kelly and I looked for constellations at summer camp in high school. I witnessed the northern lights while driving home after work about ten years ago. Bekah and I drove out into the Boise foothills to watch a meteor shower once when we were dating. Beyond that... nothing.

What a great loss.

When I returned home tonight, I stood in the middle of our cul-de-sac and studied the sky. How much could I remember? Found the bright star Vega, located the northern cross, and (for the first time that I can remember) saw Jupiter - a bright red dot sparkling low in the south eastern sky. I stood in awe. Forgotten were the stresses of being an adult in modern America, the craziness of my kids, the sweat dripping down my sides, the pain that had been plaguing my lower back. All lost in the splendor of creation.

Do you ever stare at the stars? Do galaxies and foreign suns amaze you or bore you? How long has it been since you simply looked up?

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