Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Simple Suggestion #140... Look to the skies

Just before school started again in September, three of us went out to our local "dark sky preserve" to see the stars. In the city, there's too much light pollution to be able to get a good view, so we headed to Elk Island National Park, about 45 minutes from here. I remembered to bring along my stargazing books, we had fun trying to name constellations and stars, and we kept an eye out for northern lights, but the aurora borealis were nowhere to be seen. It was a pleasant night, quiet except for the distant yipping of coyotes, and if I could have, I would have thrown a sleeping bag on the ground and stayed there. After midnight, with cricks in our necks, we headed home.

There's nothing like looking to the heavens to give a person a sense of perspective. Even the Psalmist had moments of wonder and awe under the skies:

I think about the heavens.  
  I think about what your fingers have created.
I think about the moon and stars that you have set in place. 
  What are human beings that you think of us? 
    Who am I that you care for me? (Psalm 8, my paraphrase)

Somehow, stargazing fills me with the strongest sense that there is a God, and that I am not just the byproduct of an impassive universe unfolding as it will. The night sky's enormous beauty seems to be God's gift to us puny creatures, a love letter of sorts. And looking out into the vastness of space, our little human problems don't seem quite so big. At the same time, I am filled with a strong desire that we solve our problems and protect our world from the multitude of disasters that may befall it if we don't walk more lightly than we have been. Not that I'm under any illusion that there are any quick fixes, or that we have the ability to really alter nature's great schema, but I want future generations to be able to look up at Cygnus, my favourite new constellation, or marvel at the Northern Lights like we did last night in our own back yard, and whisper the Psalmist's words for themselves.

According to Aurorawatch, there's a high probability for views of the northern lights these days. So today's suggestion, to look to the skies, might net us some spectacular sightings of God writing straight to us with crooked lines.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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