Sunday, October 02, 2005

When the Stars Fill the Sky

Have you ever taken the time to really look up at the stars at night? It’s one of my favorite things to do, but hitting the right combination of thinking about it, having a clear, dark night and a dark place to do it can make it a rare thing. Tonight I took a few minutes and stood on the porch just looking. At first I could only see the brightest stars, but as my eyes adjusted more and more became visible. It’s a beautiful sight, one I don’t admire nearly enough.

I’ve done it several times, with varying degrees of success. I was in high school when Haley’s comet was visible and I went out with a few friends to see it. We didn’t see much of the comet even through the telescope, but I remember looking up at the stars. It was a very cold night, so we didn’t actually stay that long.

Another time that stands out is when I was in Washington State. I had gone to a play – it was Fiddler on the Roof, done by a Community Theatre group. I had auditioned for it and had been offered a part in it, but turned it down for a coveted spot in another show. Rock and Roll Santa. I won’t go into the dynamics of that decision right now. Anyway, after the show I ate with most of the cast at a local restaurant (I knew most of them from other shows) and afterward I happened to look up when I got to my car. I was amazed. It was one of the clearest nights I had ever experienced. I couldn’t begin to count the stars I could see. I must have sat there for twenty minutes just looking. A woman who had also been at the dinner saw me looking as she drove out and we ended up talking about it a few days later. It got me a date.

Looking back I wish I had spent more time looking up at the stars when Hale-Bopp was here. I should have been taking pictures, video, everything you do in a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, but I was too caught up in my studying (I was getting my degree at the time) to really understand the significance.

The best star-gazing I’ve ever done was at the top of a volcano in Hawaii. I went on a tour that left and got us there in the middle of the night to see the stars. It was the first time I’d ever seen satellites fly by overhead. I was amazed by that.

I decided tonight that I had to add star-gazing to my list of things to do with my son. I think he’ll love it as much as I do. The time I spent out there tonight cleared my head (which was easy tonight – there’s not that much weighing on me right now) and I wished he were there with me. He’ll appreciate it more when he’s a little older, like when I take him on a hiking/camping trip somewhere.

This has been such a good weekend for me. I feel so renewed and relaxed – it’s been a long time since I felt this good. Everything seems to be coming back together, which is amazing when I look back at the last year. What a life I have.