Earlier this year I went to an observatory in the middle of nowhere. It was a spur-of-the-moment, on a whim sort of trip that started with an invitation.
At only $5 per person to camp, it also fell just within my being-totally-broke price range for a much-needed getaway.
Truth be told, I hadn’t really looked at the stars in ages. You can’t see many of them here, with all the light pollution and crowded houses and noise.
Not that the noise impacts the appearance of the stars. But it does impact me.
It was my first time going anywhere after the infamous event. First time to drive that far. First time to camp. First time to be away from the box that scans my heart at the same time each night.
That in and of itself felt wonderful. For the first time in months, I wouldn’t be scanned like a grocery store item at checkout.
It’s like I was an actual human or something.
Then there were the stars. The stars that I’d kind of forgotten along with everything else that wasn’t right in my face recently.
The thousands of stars that we can so easily forget exist when you live near the city. The stars that can only be seen by stepping into the middle of nowhere. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands. Constellations so bright you could actually see them.
We talked about the myths behind the pictures in the sky. We saw Jupiter through the giant telescope that stuck out of a roof that spun round with a rattling creakiness.
We looked at the heavens – a place that I had so recently, possibly, maybe, visited in some capacity.
It felt weird.
A reminder that the world, the universe, the other universes, the galaxies, the overwhelming encompassing all-ness of it all, is so much bigger than my body. That I am such a small part of something so much greater. Or at least bigger. A whole universe that moves and flows and dances to a rhythm that, in the case of some far away stars, we can only witness several thousand light years later.
Because that’s how big and far and wide away it all is.