Early this year we were visiting a mountain community in California. At 2:00 AM our dog wanted to go out! It was about 17 degrees Fahrenheit – cold, dry, cold! Coming from southern California, I bundled up big time to face the situation. It might have been annoying to have my sound sleep broken but then I stepped outside. All I could think, feel and say was “thank you” to our Terrier, Finnegan. Thank you for bringing me out into this dark night to be dazzled under the stars. No moon, all stars, cascading feelings of awe at sensing my part in this magnificient, wondrous vastness. Peace.
Without direct experience of the stars or the memory of them life will seem smaller, contained, and constrained to a bubble of artificial lights. Humans love to be dazzled. No matter what there will never ever be enough twinkle lights on Earth to replace the magic of being under the stars where imagination soars.
Kids need to see the stars. In real life. They need to find a place to gaze and let the star-filled night etch light into their senses so thorougly that they can return to this expansive feeling of wonder at will to recall their part in the Universe. And, adults must help children recall that feeling. Seriously, how often do any of us speak about our dazzling experiences of the natural world? How many children have yet to experience a starry night? People wonder what living more connected to nature means beyond making thoughtful choices around food and environmental care. It means experiencing that natural world and weaving Nature into our thoughts and language.
Losing these deeply connective experiences to the rush of life, screens and distractions loosens the supportive bonds we have with Nature, Earth and each other. That’s a problem. A huge problem.
An ancient 3rd century Aramaic text discovered in the Vatican archives nearly 100 years ago holds this recommendation:
“And in the moments before you sleep, then shall you think of the bright and glorious stars, the white, shining, far-seen and far-piercing stars. For your thoughts before sleep are as the bow of the skillful archer, that sends the arrow where he wills.”
Imagine that. Imagine that creative potential.
The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the returning sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. New life is beginning within. New possibilities prepare to be born!
Cheers to you, to many more starry nights, sun-blessed days and dreams come true!