I quickly feel the loneliness of the vast and empty rural land. So vast was the land, so empty and bland the landscape, sometimes it feels like the sky and stars is all I have. I lie in the brown grass at night, gazing at the multitude of bright stars, hidden to my eyes by overpowering city lights in my previous life. I wish I knew the constellations. Instead, I make my own. I feel a deep energy reverberating through the land as I lay there. Was this how the Natives felt so long ago, when the sky was a canvas of stories to be discovered and told around the evening fire? Continuing my gaze, I let the stars speak their story to me.
Back at the house, the electricity was out. The small town grid in southeastern New Mexico could not handle the Christmas light overload. I filled a cast iron pan with candles, set it on the floor, and invited my housemate to join me for an evening of story telling around the evening fire.
We told stories of laughter and sorrow. We learned of each other’s histories and dreams. We then walked outside to continue our storytelling through the stars. Once again, the sky was a canvas of stories, yearning to be created and told. We looked for shooting stars. Surely one of them would be our recently passed hedgehog rolling around happily in hedgehog heaven. We connected the dots to explain the happenings of our day. We filled the Big Dipper with warm tea… and went inside to drink it.
Fast forward a few months, my landscape changes. No longer am I lonely in an empty desert. City lights reflect constant movement bustling in the alleys of Seattle. Street lamps, car headlamps, glaring LCD screens of smart phones and computers, neon bar signs, late night coffeehouses, refrigerators casting a midnight glow…. Harsh lights threaten and drown the gentle gift that belongs to all of us, the night sky. Instead of land, crude concrete interrupts the energy I once felt echo around me. I trade the lustrous urban sprawl for a black trail in the wilderness and let my eyes and spirit adjust.
Blanketed under a canopy of stars, watching meteors streak the night canvas, I fall asleep to the ancient rhythm of our Earth’s unfaltering dance . Soon I am kissed awake by sunbeams that reveal a mountain adorned with wildflowers, their laughter echoing off canyon walls, filling the mountain basin, and gliding across alpine lakes fed from lingering snow melt in the August sunshine.
Joined in chorus, beds of wildflowers carpeted the trail, their outer fringes reaching out over the dusty footpath. The concrete jungle was now far behind me as I continued to embrace the call of the mountains and the sky. The best things in life are simple and free. Open your heart and listen!