Adventures, Camp Different, Camping, TAXA Outdoors

Why We Camp #16 —Stars Forwards and Backwards

hubble — ring nebula

Go see the stars! Feel awe, wonder, humility. God we are so small. Seuss’Horton Hears a Who! is so real. We humans do not seem to do so well emulating elephant’s long memories. There are new worlds everywhere — big and small and underwater and close and far away.

If you live anywhere close to a city’s light pollution really seeing the stars means you have to become an astronaut or an astronomer or, easier, hop on a computer to raid NASA’s Hubble gallery page …. or go camping.

My application to become an astronaut was rejected because my training was as an Architect (that was the first reason, I am sure they would have found more if they had looked!). When I first started camping there were not any personal computers on which to search the internet that did not exist. My habits lay in camping to find the dark and the light and think about them around a campfire.

The milky way does not exist in cities. That means the reverence or mystery of our recent past as as well as ancient cultures start to lose their grip on us. The crazy beautiful and ancient stones of Callanish or Stenness become an engineering art instead of truly magical and needed and maybe even practical in a calendar way.

(in some other post I will write about why art is needed!).

callanish – isle of lewis


When I visited Callanish years ago I was awed. It was moody and rainy and no one was there. There was no fence, nothing commercial, just mystery and a kind of slow time that reminds me of the way it is clear that time happens so ‘fully’ for young kids, the wonder they carry in their eyes.

I stayed in a very close by cluster of houses. Every house had the same name on its mailbox. None of the inhabitants spoke english, though I had thought I was in Scotland. Nope, in that community it was still Gaelic. My B and B’s bedroom had a picture window looking at the stones in the distance. I dreamt that in the middle of the night a group of people emerged from the stones in the distance and were slowly walking towards my window with large knives. I woke up kinda sweaty and noted that my bedroom’s door did not have a lock. I got out of bed and placed my pack next to the door. I fell back asleep and woke up happy that I had managed to fire up my imagination. I never sleep well my first night in a wild place. Second nights I am comfortable again.

Wait. I was writing about stars and then my suggestive imagination came up again. You might start to disbelieve my fish stories.

atlantic sturgeon

Go towards the light!

(by going someplace dark)

Show your kids. Show yourself again (and again). Stay up late and inspire a strange dream.

Leave A Comment