It's been decades....

I had a dream I put on jewelry to go out and look at the stars.

If the night sky was going to be resplendent for me, then I had better make an effort, and so I put on a brilliant sapphire tiara and long sapphire earrings and stood out on a balcony, wooing the galaxies.

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That dream was inspired by my first proper viewing of the stars since camping with family on my great-grandfather's claim during the summers of my teen years.

Friends invited us to their home in Eastern Arizona for spring break, far from this dusty old town and its light pollution. My husband and son wanted to go skiing at the still operating ski resort near our friends' home. My oldest daughter wished to spend plenty of quality time with her close friend. As for me? I wanted to hike, but high on my list of things to do in the country was to look up in the big, dark outdoors with all my city children and witness their awe.

A couple of years ago when staying near the Grand Canyon, I forgot to escort my children out for the big show. This time I had already put the little ones to bed when Analisa asked me, "Mama, are we going to look at the stars?"

I hastily grabbed the younger two from bed and fled outside and down the porch steps and walkway. After asking my daughter's friend to turn out the garage and porch lights, we spun around beneath a multitude of magnificent stars, the hazy clusters like enormous shimmering jewels, like my children have never seen. I sent one of the kids in to fetch their papa. I held Gabriella in my arms, and Matthew held Daniel, and I could not help but exclaim repeatedly to my family, "Isn't it gorgeous? Isn't it the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?"

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I often will gaze into the night sky when I'm taking out recycling or trash at night. I can pick out Orion, and I'm always happy to see my friend the moon in all his moods.

But the stars appearing above my front street are only the most demonstrative ones. A chance to see the stars in full regalia is rare and humbling. For the many of us living a city life with maybe a daytime hike or short road trip here and there, the opportunity is far too rare.

So my advice?

Don't forget the stars. When you're out camping, sojourning in a cabin, or even traveling a long stretch of empty highway between towns at night, look up! Visit the real superstars of the universe. You don't even have to wear jewelry for the occasion.


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