Lost with the Stars
From the moment we first gazed upon the night sky it has filled us with wonder and inspired us to search. We searched inward for meaning and outward for understanding. In the stars we wrote our stories to preserve them and pass them on to each new generation. From the ancient Greeks to the Indians of the plains and every culture in between, we have used the stars to guide our earthly journeys. The dreamers and the mystics, the scientists and the explorers are not so different when they gaze upon a brilliant night sky. Their imaginations are set afire with the possibilities.
An unobscured moonless night reveals the depth and miracle of creation. The brilliance of the Milky Way bisects the sky, millions upon millions of points of light create a cloud of clarity and depth, a window to the heart of our galaxy. Each star in the heavens, unique with its own story, crimson blue to deep red set against the blackness of space. Distant galaxies and nebula all moving in synchronicity toward the dawn. The planets dance in their eccentric pathways with moons in orbit around them while shooting stars burn through the atmosphere delivering their interstellar cargo to the earth. Comets, cosmic wanderers, return home from the outer reaches of our solar system, they round the sun and set off once again on their voyage to a distant place of mystery. With each setting of the sun this brilliant dance of light reveals itself in a cosmic tale of mystery against the blackness of space.
Scientist, and theologians along with ancient priests have sought to explain the mysteries of the night sky. Dreamers and lovers have gazed upon it for inspiration. Travelers on the seas and across the open tundra have found their way, guided by the stars.
Now obscured by light of our creation and the clouds of our ignorance, we have lost our guiding stars. We have lost our dreams, our sense of wonder and the reminders of our story. We have lost our soul and understanding of who we are and our place in this world. The night sky, once a field of imagination and inspiration has become awash with light from the illumination of our daily and now nightly grind. We have so thoroughly insulated ourselves from the mystery of a star-filled night that its influence on our hopes and dreams has become insignificant. Where once we moved to the rhythm of life as the Earth orbited the sun and the incredible seasonal changes of the heavens had us looking skyward in awe and wonder, we now, with our heads ever cast downward rarely notice the few faint flickers of light struggling to reach us.
There was a time when the pace of our lives was guided by the seasons as was our diet and our dress. From the first spring harvest of berries to the pumpkins of fall, we ate with the seasons eagerly awaiting the freshness of each new crop. The cool winds of fall would arrive and blow away the heat of summer, summoning the warm comfort of a favorite sweater. Foretelling the approaching winter, Orion appeared large on the horizon beginning his nightly journey through the winter sky. Rising a little earlier each night and dwindling in size through the fall and winter months, until constellations such as Leo once again took their place in the heavens and we shed that same favorite sweater as winter gives way to spring.
In each of the office buildings where I worked for many years a sweater was needed all summer long as the air conditioning pumped its arctic breeze down the hallways while in winter it was so overheated that short sleeves were necessary. It is no wonder that our natural circadian rhythm, which controls more than simply sleep, is off balance.
I find it no coincidence that it in these days where our focus seems to be on electronic friendships, thumbs a-blur across a glowing screen, rarely pausing to take in the world around us, that these are the same days in which the stories of the night sky have become lost and untold. It seems that our imaginations have been hijacked by gaming realms created by software engineers and 3D model jockeys. No longer creating the story line for ourselves, we follow the script of the level designer.
Of course, these aren’t the only things demanding our attention and pulling us from the natural rhythms of life. Politician pop-stars create high drama for votes while the inflated egos of overpaid athletes strut up and down the sidelines in a bid for attention and endorsements. The constant struggle for the almighty dollar, so that we may buy more things to distract us and hold up as a yardstick of our worth, keeps our heads down and our imagination and vision numb.
Our houses are larger than ever before and so full of material things that we are building more and more ‘self-storage” units for all our stuff. Yet with all this stuff we are not happy. We find ourselves lost among piles of material things. No longer able to see the stars and receive their guidance for our journey through this life, we cling to these ultimately meaningless things. Perhaps that is where the quest for self and our true nature should begin. Take our selves out of storage and lighten the load by eliminating all the things we have so desperately grasped on to, the things that we have falsely believed identified who we are and bring us happiness.
We are all made of stars. The stars are our guide, our muse, our true place of comfort and wisdom. Call it cosmic debris if you will, all the light that has come together to form and shape the universe, our galaxy, solar system, the earth, you and me. No matter what you call it, it is where we were born. When we gaze upon the heavens we are gazing upon creation, the roots of our very existence, the only true reflection of ourselves. We need an unobstructed night sky to see and remember our stories, where we came from and who we are. If it is true that only through distance may we gain perspective, then an unobstructed view of the night sky will provide us with the ultimate perspective to the true nature of our existence.