Last night I had my very first opportunity of viewing the Milky Way in the night sky. To say the least, it was awe inspiring. There really are no words to adequately describe it. I went out to the West Desert in Utah to the Knolls Recreation Area. I went out before the moon came up. I found a dark quiet spot. Turned off my car and the lights, stepped outside, and just looked up. I saw something that pictures cannot do justice.
I could have taken a picture, but it would not have been the same. It was amazing. Within the first 5 minutes I saw at least 3 shooting stars, another star that seemed to move smoothly through the sky, which I am sure was a satellite, and the vast band of the Milky Way from one horizon to the other.
It was surreal. It really is something indescribable. You go out there and the only thing you hear is the wind in your ears and all you see is the glow in the sky. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the light of the stars and as they did I saw more stars. It opened up my eyes and wondered what it was like to those in the past that looked up.
It gave me a new meaning to things such as "Starry Night" by van Gogh. It was if I was staring into his painting. Seeing all the detail in the sky that he saw. Something that we often take for granted in our modern world. After seeing this spectacle I understand why the ancients revered the sky.
Just 15 minutes of being immersed in the light of the stars opened up a flood of thoughts that have never come to mind before. I wish I had the ability to talk to Galileo and Copernicus and see their sky. To learn from their knowledge and then come back to modern times and speak with Asimov, Sagan, and Tyson and get their take and perspective on our universe.
We yearn to know what is out there, and why not? The innumerable stars and galaxies that we have discovered and those that we have yet to discover give us an insight of where we came from. Because as Carl Sagan once said, "We are made of star-stuff."
Yes, our existence here on earth is but a blip in time. We are here, but for a short and almost seemingly meaningless existence, but when I think about this quote and really see the stars and the galaxies as close as possible to how the ancients would have, I do not see myself as insignificant. I am made of something bigger. Something that gives the world wonder.
I can use what I have been created from to give life to those around me and be a beacon to my fellow man as a star is to our world, our civilizations, and our minds. As I look up to the stars I can say, "I am made of star-stuff and I will be that 'star' to those around me."