Stars

By Michael J. Bennett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A friend once told me that when they were a kid, they would camp out on their grandparents’ farm and sleep under the stars.

‘You’ve never seen so many stars,’ they said. ‘It was like sleeping under a dark sheet with a million pinpricks in it, letting the light in.’

I still love the way they described that sky, and I can still imagine the kid-version of them lying in a tent with their siblings, talking and laughing with the door unzipped so they could see out. My friend described so perfectly a sky I haven’t seen nearly enough in my life, growing up so close to a big city, in a suburb mapped with streetlights.

There were school camps out in the bush, cooking marshmallows on the fire while one of the teachers strummed a guitar and tried to get us all to sing along. There was one camp at Mt Buller, where one night I walked around with another friend after lights-out, treading carefully through the icy sludge that was trying to pass as snow that year. We turned a corner behind a cabin and stopped because the whole world in front of us became that pinprick-sheet of stars.

There was a family trip when my brother and I were kids – I can’t remember when or where it was – but we took a night tour into some caves to see the glow worms, and when we emerged, that same sky enveloped us like a majestic dome.

I’m sure there have been more occasions when I’ve seen it … or perhaps not.

I haven’t seen that friend who used to camp out on their grandparents’ farm for years. But I can still hear them talking about the stars.

That’s all I wanted to write, really: a note to myself, and perhaps to you, as another year draws us swiftly, head-first, into another:

See more stars.

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