“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking
The cabin my wife and I spent the weekend in was deep in the forest which is to say at night it was very dark. I had forgotten just how dark the world should be and the sight of stars, not one or two but masses upon masses of stars was a long forgotten treat.
When we think about pollution many of us “city dwellers” think in terms of air and trash. But I rediscovered two I had forgotten, light and sound. This small cabin was located high on a mountain side deep in the woods. Behind us was a ravine that a small stream had spent millions of years slowly forming. There were no streetlights, no billboards, no headlights, no house lights, no beacons of any sort to cut through the dark.
After dinner Saturday night I sat on the back deck staring out into nothing and then I looked up into the night sky. I have seen this dance of light before but I had forgotten just how beautiful it was. From my backyard, in a city filled with light, I might see a few stars and bright planets but nothing near the display I was witnessing that evening.
I sat my bottle of beer down beside me in this black abyss and couldn’t find it. Sadly I knocked it over spilling a wonderful Milk Stout that I hoped the bears would enjoy later.
I have a lot going on in my life that is both positive and negative. It is very easy to overlook the positive because it speaks to us in whispers while the negative yells at us disrupting our sleep. But looking up in the sky that night I realized once again just how vast this universe is and that my life and problems are even less than an afterthought.
“If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.” – George Carlin
Somewhere, maybe even above my head, there is another Dad out there sitting on his deck with a cold beer wondering how he is going to pay for his childs college tuition next month. A Mom wishing she hadn’t said those cross words to her daughter. A child hoping her parents won’t get divorced. Sitting in this black night helped me see all the light I have in this world even when it is so much easier to focus on the dark. There is more light around us than we are seeing, we just don’t spend enough time looking for it.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln