Monday, July 1, 2013

Slice of Life - July 9th, 2013 Starlight on my Birthday!



Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz 
host "Slice of Life"  on their 
website twowritingteachers.com
On my birthday last week, I was lucky to be camping in the Sand Dunes, in southern Colorado.  That morning, at three AM, I had ignored my bladder long enough and stepped outside to take care of business.  I guess the days of sleeping through the night are mostly gone.

When we went to sleep earlier that night, clouds covered the sky and the gusting wind was causing the tent to shake violently.  Thankfully, climbing the dunes had tired out my wife, my almost three-year-old daughter, and me, so we fell asleep as darkness descended. 

As I fumbled for my glasses, a shirt and the zipper to the tent, I noticed the wind was still.  There is a certain feeling that a clear sky evokes on one’s senses while camping.  I tried to quickly but quietly unzip the tent, my anticipation of the night sky and my own natural needs, competing in their urgency for me to hurry.  Emerging from the rain fly, I was greeted with one of the finest bejeweled skies I’ve ever witnessed.  The moon was absent, and the starlight was bright enough to create silhouettes of the campsite, trees, bushes, and the sand dunes off in the distance.  It seemed that I could see each planet, star, galaxy, quasar, and satellite above me.  The Milky Way was spilled across the shimmering blackness and while I was being reminded of how insignificant I was, I rejoiced in remembering how significant the true nighttime sky is to me.

After attending to my original reason for getting up, I stood outside the tent gazing upwards.  I only lasted a couple of minutes before I started shivering but I enjoyed the moment and realized that this was the first thing I saw on my thirty-eighth birthday.  Only a shooting star to wish upon could make this moment better.  The only movement I saw was a satellite cruising across the sky, so faint I could only see it if I didn’t look right at it.  That was good enough for me and I put out a wish for my next year and a thanks for this moment to the universe, nature, God.

Slipping as quietly as possible back into the tent and my sleeping bag, I was still in awe of the moment.  My wife sleepily rolled over and said, “Happy Birthday Honey,” and patted my shoulder as she reached across our daughter, snuggled deep in her bag between us.  I almost believed she somehow set up the past few minutes as a wonderful gift; she is that good.  Warmth crept towards my frozen feet and sleep pulled at my eyes. Although I'm getting older, with a few grey hairs showing at my temples and some extra pains the morning after a night of camping, the visions of that sky let me know, this is going to be a good year.
        

18 comments:

  1. It's a beautiful slice to share Max. I haven't seen the stars like that for a long time. The last great view I remember was on the Lake Powell/Grand Canyon trip. I'm so glad you had such a happy birthday! And you're right, Susan is that good! Thanks for telling all the good details!

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    1. Linda, I would love to do that Grand Canyon trip with my class some day. There is 'something' about the desert sky at night.

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  2. What a beautiful gift on your birthday! It sounds a bit serendipitous.

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    1. Thanks. It truly was serendipitous...like many wonderful things in life.

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  3. You painted the picture so clearly. I felt like I was right there with you for each step and gaze. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Elle. I'm glad it brought you along for the ride.

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  4. Max, this is a wonderful slice! It is written so vividly that I could see myself there. I agree that a great, clear sky view can be magical. Happy Birthday!

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    1. I appreciate the birthday wishes Robin and thanks for the comment. Good to know you appreciate a great night sky too.

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  5. Absolutely, beautiful. I pictured every minute because I have had all those midnight calls camping as well. My favorite line....while I was being reminded of how insignificant I was, I rejoiced in remembering how significant the true nighttime sky is to me. We just said that last week after spending time further north. Happy Birthday! xo

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    1. That was my favorite line as I wrote it! I'm glad it spoke to you as well. Spending time outside is so important to me to recharge my batteries, because even a call of nature can become a lifetime memory.

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  6. Beautiful! These are the moments that create those lasting memories!

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I hope you are finding many of those special moments as well.

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  7. You created this first moment of your thirty eighth so vividly for us, too. As I read it everything became so quiet and I felt the wonder, too.

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    1. Thanks Kim. I'm honored it spoke to you.

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  8. Oh how I'd love to witness a bejeweled sky! What a glorious vision to have forever in your mind! Nature called and you were rewarded.

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    1. It was wonderful! Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Such a lovely post - a bejewelwed sky is a fine gift indeed. And, welcome to our writing community, Max!

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    1. Thank you Tara. It is an amazingly supportive community and I'm really enjoying getting to know it.

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