Sunday, October 3, 2010

Night Sky

I’m in the midst of one of those hectic times~~lots to do at work and at home, while readying myself for a trip back east to spend time with my 91~year~old father. Near~constant motion has been my mode for days, with a to~do list reminiscent of horror films in which every downed beast is promptly replaced by two others.

Thankfully, the items on my list are not monsters nor are they the slightest bit bothersome. They are all things I want to do, things I do gladly. They just look to be in boundless supply. Writing this essay is on that list. But this is a crafty item that morphed into two without my ever having had the satisfaction of crossing it out first.

Before the writing, you see, one needs an idea. I had none.

Most of the time, potential topics tumble over themselves vying for my attention. Like eager first graders, they jump up and down, shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” This week, however, it seemed that I was the one doing all the hopping about. Ideas might be there, but I couldn’t catch one with a first baseman’s mitt. Obviously, I needed to quiet myself. Be still. Listen.

And with that realization, my friends, an idea appeared. Yep, a theme nosedived right into that mitt o’ mine.

I waited until the sun set on this gorgeous autumn day. With a waning moon and no clouds sidling in to mar my view, I knew I would be gifted a ring~side seat at one of the most spectacular of mountain skies. So with my husband as my willing companion, we set out for a high spot beyond the reach of artificial lights. We wanted only the luminous glow of stars amid galaxies and the glimmer of our own small sun reflected off nearby planets. Finding the perfect place, we spread a blanket over the rapidly cooling ground. We stretched out, earth below, infinity unfurled above.


When I look up into the inkiness of a Colorado night sky filled with untold points of dazzling light, everything stops. Small thoughts and plans and worries and, yes, to~do lists all evaporate with a single upward glance. The sky fills me and I surrender into it. I’m instantly brought into balance with the cosmos and my place in it.

I’ve heard others describe how such a scene makes them aware of their teensy smallness, and I guess the same is true for me. But what seems truer is that all distinctions drop away. The boundaries between me and everything else vanish or, more accurately, are recognized as mere illusion after all. The notion of a separate self dissolves. All is immeasurable spaciousness, including the galaxies swirling within the neurons and molecules of my own body.

So, we rested within a sweeping Milky Way and gazed into stars light years beyond ours. We bid a silent greeting to Jupiter, and gasped three times as shooting stars graced the sky. As we stood to fold the blanket, the first radiance of a rising moon streamed out from the east.

I’m back home now. As I peck out these pleasing but wholly insufficient words, I’m reminded of a quote, author unknown, that I saw on a piece by Colorado fiber artist, Robin Richards. “The soul needs a daily dose of Vastness.”

Pencil in hand, I reach out now and check three things from my to~do list: an idea for a column, the column itself, and my soul’s daily dose of Vastness.

Wishing you each your own daily dose!


Loanne Marie


Claire said...

I love that quote: The soul needs a daily dose of Vastness. This column is particularly pertinent, as I have moved on to Peaks Island in Maine, and find myself commuting by ferry to and from the mainland of Portland. I am forever drawn to gaze, not at passing boats, nor parked cruise ships, lapping waves, nor island views, I am mesmerized by the sky, at dawn, sunrise, sunset, dusk and night. Oh,the night sky, with its planets and stars. As I look up at the night sky, I sense a "falling into" that lifts me out of myself allowing me to experience mySelf, a sure expedition into the meditative realm. Thank for this most beautiful writing. And how blessed you are to have a partner to share in the dose of Vastness. Cheers!

Loanne Marie said...

And many of us will now think of you, Claire, crossing to and from the mainland in all kinds of weather under that immense dome of sky that~~especially on a clear night~~pulls you ever farther outward, while somehow at the same time allowing you to be more fully here on our earth.

I find it important that we all share that same sky, though the particulars of the ground we stand on may vary. May we each make good use of such unfathomable Vastness, simply by opening to it!

Thanks for writing, Claire!

monica wood said...

Your father is NINETY-ONE? Talk about vastness. Blessings on your journey home...I'm looking forward to the next post.

Loanne Marie said...

Don't know yet if my writing will touch on this or not, but 91 golly!

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