It’s only minutes into today, and I am already certain of my daily gratitude. I can’t imagine this one will get eclipsed by anything else that can happen today.
This is our last night at the lake. Sometime tomorrow (er, later today) we’ll head back to town.
Because it is our last night, I realized it was the last night to really get out and look up at the stars with the girls. The sliver of a moon set pretty early tonight. It’s clear and cold…a few wisps of clouds. But the lake is like glass and except for a howling dog here and there, it’s wonderfully quiet.
So, I knew that I needed to get the girls (Caroline and Maria) out to see the stars. But, of course, I didn’t think of it until after they were in bed, hair wet from their showers.
I made them get up anyway.
This is either really good, or really bad, parenting; depending upon your point of view.
We bundled up and headed down to the dock to look up at the stars. As I said, it’s wonderfully quiet right now, and the lake is *amazingly* still…like glass….like….well it’s really not like anything else.
Anyway, we spent a lot of time looking up at the huge swath of stars across the sky. The two city girls were dutifully impressed (although Maria’s seen our lake stars many times before…)
And then, just before we turned to go in, we looked down at that shimmering water again. And Maria said, “Look: you can see the stars in the water…”
And, sure enough, you could. Not nearly as many as in the sky, of course. But especially in the deep dark of the waters just off the dock –about the first 100 feet off shore– you could definitely make out the unmistable twinkling of starlight.
And my immediate thought was: How have I never seen this before? Have I seen it and just forgotten? Surely I’ve been somewhere else, or more likely even here, and noticed this incredible sight…but maybe not…
Could it be that I’ve really lived almost five decades and only now noticed this?
Brought them back up to bed; and then immediately head back down to the dock, to sit on the bench and gaze up at the stars some more. Saw at least one impressive shooting star. Then, I looked back down at the stars in the water some more.
At different points in my life, it was very very common for me to do this same thing…to sit out in the middle of the night and look up at stars. When I lived in Mason, I’d drive three or four miles out of town (in any direction) and just lay down in the bed of my pickup and watch for an hour. I’d see *dozens* of falling stars each night….just by gazing carefully for that length of time.
Of course, the city ruins all of this. So deep is the jealousy of city lights that they vainly block the view of the real show. They know they can’t compete; and so all they can do is destroy. And they that do exceedingly well.
So nights like tonight are a treat. I’ve come up from the dock now, but I’m still sitting on the porch, tapping this out on a laptop, soaking in every single last moment of stillness.
For a billion stars above…
For stars twinkling in the still dark waters…
And for the eyes to see them…
I am thankful.
(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)