Have you ever just gone out side in the dead of night, way out from the lights of the cities, just to look at the stars? When we first bought our farm, we had a street light by the barn. I had lived my whole life in the city, at one point in a trailer park in Phoenix with a street light right outside my bedroom window. I hated living in Phoenix because I could never see the stars. But on weekends and during the summer we would escape up to the Mountains on the Rim to a one room cabin that at first didn’t even have running water or indoor plumbing. There the stars were amazing, so many more than you would ever see in a normal night sky! We were at over 5,000 feet elevation and no one around—National Forest behind us and most people only using the nearby cabins on the weekends. It was paradise. We would actually sleep on the front porch just to watch the stars. It was hard to see the big dipper because the sky was sooo crowded with stars! It was paradise and where I connected with nature. I never wanted to leave that cabin. It had been built before I was even born. And I was allowed to run free there.
But I digress, the street light on the farm. Yes, so I asked if it was mine when I called the local Cooperative that handled our electric service. They told me it was and I asked if they could please disconnect it when they turned on the power for me. The woman on the phone tried to talk me out of it—saying it was for security. I simply replied that I wasn’t scared and I had finally been able to move to the country and there was no way I wanted a street light to block my view of the stars. I’m sure she thought I was crazy, but the truth is that when all the lights are off in the house, no one can even tell I’m there with all the trees and darkness. I feel very safe—we have three huge dogs that are night workers and quit capable of telling us when someone is there who shouldn’t be.
My favorite thing to do is, late at night- especially when I can’t sleep- is to go outside with all the lights out and just look at the stars. It’s humbling. You realize you are nothing in the scope of the universe. You realize that what ever you are worrying about or fretting over means nothing really. When you’re gone so is the big problem you are worrying about. In the dead of winter, on the coldest nights, is when I wrap up in a heavy quilt, and go out to be amazed. The stars are by far the best on the coldest, clearest nights.
I once read an article about a woman who took inner city kids camping outside of LA. One girl, on such an outing, was concerned over all the lights in the sky—she had never left the city before and had never in her whole life seen a star before. She didn’t know what they were. What a shame. That is true for many of our kids today. They have no contact with nature at all. They stay inside and watch TV or get on the internet or play with there new appendages—a smart phone.
Every farm around me has lights that stay on all night long—most have two street lights. I wonder what they are scared of. Coyotes love lights—it shows them were their food is. So it can’t be to protect the livestock. I wonder if the neighbors ever go outside to look at the stars….if they do I can guarantee that I am seeing more stars than they are—because my lights are off! Go look at the stars!