I don’t look up anymore. I noticed that when I crossed my apartment courtyard the other morning to get my mail. The first light was just coming through, but the sky was still dark enough to see the stars. I remember because on that occasion I did look up. Just as the day was dawning, it dawned on me that I don’t look up at the sky anymore. I blamed it on urban living: too many city lights to truly appreciate the night sky, but I suspect there is more to it than that.
When I was kid, you couldn’t stop me from stargazing. And I grew up in the Bronx, so there goes the ‘urban living’ excuse. “Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight,” I’d chant and make my magic wish. And it wasn’t just gazing up at the night sky that consumed my evenings as a child. I’d lie in the grass during the summer and watch the clouds travel across the sky catching a glimpse of a dog before it changed into a dragon.
No matter what is happening ‘down here,’ nature is ever constant. Oh sure the seasons change, the weather changes, even the constellations that are visible change, but whatever is going on in my life, or your life, doesn’t affect any of this.
I never realized how comforting that is. I remember a PBS special from years ago featuring Audrey Hepburn. She was walking through a garden and said something that I remember to this day, “Whenever you’re feeling upset or sad (or words to that effect), go outside…” She knew.
Being outside and letting nature just ‘wash over you’ is its own kind of meditation. It connects you to that part of yourself that is bigger than yourself. The simplicity of that moment when I stood alone and lifted my eyes above the fray of what I call ‘my life,’ was alchemical. It instantly changed my mood and hence my day– for the better.
This morning, as I drove to work, I enjoyed the last of the full moon from the autumnal equinox of the other day. A Harvest Moon and it was magical……