Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stargazing


I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to stare up at the stars. In Maryland, there’s a lot of surrounding light pollution that makes celestial sightseeing a major hindrance. It’s still possible to see the usual suspects in the night sky, but there’s nowhere near enough to really draw you in and get lost. My favorite thing to do when stargazing when the sky isn’t polluted is to try and count every single star I can see. It’s humbling, and one of the most peaceful places I can take myself.

My first trip to Tennessee with my family offered a great viewing of the stars. Natural Tunnel was where we would stay. Up the hill was a playground and a field, and laying on the basketball court with my cousins, we’d get lost staring at the sky and the vast depth of space and the millions of stars visible to the naked eye in just that perceivable view within the horizon. Any one section of space revealed more stars than you could count in a night.

In my two years in Louisiana, anytime I was out at night I made an effort to get lost in the stars. We were far enough away from any sizeable city in Louisiana, and far enough from Texas cities like Houston and Beaumont to not be denied by light pollution. I often found myself stepping outside late at night when I couldn’t sleep to spend some time stargazing. There were times I even joined my grandmother in silence just to escape.

When I stargaze, I’m humbled simply by how inferior we are. I consider the perception of how big the stars really are, how small our planet is, and how much smaller we are than our planet. I also zone out, entirely—so much so that if I knew any better, I’d consider myself deaf when doing it.

Being back in Maryland again, I miss the stars. I miss the escape to serenity, as I don’t necessarily have one here. I really want to take a trip for a week down south somewhere away from the cities and lay on the hood of my car and get lost looking at the stars.

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