The other night I took Penny on her bedtime walk. As we shuffled down the sidewalk, I looked up through the parting of the tree lined streets. I don’t usually look up at night because the street lights drown out everything in the sky. This night was different. There was a piercing light (Venus), unlike anything I have seen in the city sky before. Upon closer inspection, this brilliant planet was not the only light in the sky. It was accompanied by myriads of stars. For the first time ever, I was able to clearly make out full constellations while standing in the middle of town.
I quickly went back into the house and called for my daughter to get a coat on. We were going to take a quick drive to the edge of town where the man made light fades away. I wanted her to get an even better look. This poor kid has lived a city slicker life. She has had little experience of simple joys like a fully starlit sky. I have always regaled her with stories of sitting out at night and watching satellites go by as I waited to see meteorites. I would talk about the incomparable night skies I had the privilege to witness while I spent several Summers working deep in the wilderness of Maine. How up there, on a clear night, the Milky Way would show so brightly. It felt like you could reach out and grab handfuls of the galaxy's stardust as if it were raining down upon the hills. Meanwhile all she has ever experienced is the nearly imperceptible flecks of light that occasionally peek through the air and light pollution. I don't think she ever believed my stories.
So we hopped in the car (Much to my husbands disagreement - to be fair - with the unnecessary travel order on, he was right. However, this seemed very necessary.) We drove a couple of miles till the surroundings went black, and I pulled into a roadside park. She was star stuck to say the least. I pointed out a few constellations which she had only ever heard about but never witnessed. We quickly drank it all in. After a few minutes, I had to convince her to go for fear of getting in trouble for being out and about. She said she wished she could just stay and gaze at them all night. I was in full agreement.
For as much horrible trauma that is happening around us, this Earth day feels special. I'm sure, like me, you have seen the stories about how mother nature has been given the chance to do some healing in this short time. This story about the clean and clear skies was one of the major ways I have experienced this healing first hand. I hope you get to take a moment to notice all of the beauty that is happening around us as we humans hit pause. Let's watch together as nature steps back out into the spotlight, and shows us how glorious it can be. I am definitely going to try to learn from all of this and see how I can continue trying to conserve after the new normal resumes.
I want the next generation to be able to bask in starlight too.
Stay Safe, Be Well. Sending (((Hugs)))