I Miss the Stars

Tom, a friend I am sad­ly estranged from, has described a deep spir­i­tu­al con­nec­tion to this place. I’ve nev­er been here before, but I’m not sure that I can say I’ve been here now. It’s night­time and Matt is dri­ving. Road trip­ping is great fun, but I can’t say I’ve seen much of the lake or the mountain.

I am astound­ed by the sheer num­ber of stars in the sky. I’m sur­prised at myself for this. I grew up very aware of the stars and liv­ing in my city I often miss see­ing a sky full of stars. The Milky Way spreads itself out across the sky for me. Even my eyes—ruined by the green back­light of the LCD screen on which I write—can make out con­stel­la­tions long since lost under the lights of the city. The stars showed my ances­tors where they were on the plan­et. Tonight, although sup­pos­ed­ly enlight­ened by the sci­en­tif­ic facts that tell me I am in fact look­ing at my place in the uni­verse, I catch a glimpse of the wis­dom of those long-dead nav­i­ga­tors and a left feel­ing they knew a lot more than I do.

Cas­siopeia is on the hori­zon. When was the last tine I picked her out of the count­less points of light sur­round­ing her? The Lit­tle Dip­per is in front of me. Only on a good clear night back home do I even have a hope of rec­og­niz­ing The Big Dip­per. Scor­pio, Dra­co… is that Pega­sus? Hard to say. I wish I’d paid bet­ter atten­tion when I was younger, I search for my old friend Ori­on but I don’t see him. Per­haps it’s too late in the sea­son for an appear­ance by the hunter—perhaps he’s just hid­ing on the oth­er side of the van.

Post­script: I’ve now seen Mount Shas­ta, and it is real­ly amaz­ing. I think per­haps I’ll have to give Tom a call when I get back to the city.

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