I love the night sky. There is something comforting, mysterious and hopeful about standing under a canopy of swirling stars. Each summer I go camping alone in Canada’s beautiful northland to satisfy a hunger for solitude, wilderness and the night sky. Away from city lights there is nothing more awe inspiring than a star studded sky in the stillness of the wilderness.
I usually set up camp beside a lonely northern lake providing me with a long horizon and an uninterrupted view of the heavens. As darkness approaches I begin to sense an overwhelming closeness to the mysteries of the universe and a strong connection to the source of all that is. I become aware of an alternate rhythm to life – a rhythm which is so easily lost amidst the frenetic pace of contemporary existence. Embraced by darkness, with stars too numerous to count and comforted by the gentle lapping of the waves I begin to realize how much I miss living in a city with its incessant, invasive brightness. It is as if I am rediscovering an enormous part of a lost spiritual heritage.
When sleep begins to engulf me and my eyes start to close, I reluctantly move toward my camper not wanting to miss a moment of this celestial display but realizing that I can’t resist the call to slumber any longer. In the warmth of my sleeping bag I let the silence and stillness lull me to sleep with the immortal words of Sophocles gently echoing across the centuries, ” Mortal I know I am, short lived. Yet whenever I stand beneath a multitude of swirling stars I no longer tread this earth, but rise to feast with God and enjoy the food of the immortals.” And so to sleep.