Beauty of the Night
For the weekend of the 4th, my family went camping with a couple of my hubbies siblings and their families. We went to Stillwater, UT, which is a part of the Wasatch - Cache National Forest. It was gorgeous. I haven't been camping in a long time (it's not one of my favorite pastimes -- I like a real bed and running water, thank you) and so it was a good outing for us. We had to leave one daughter behind, as she works fast food, and no one gets the 4th off...grin.
The camp site was nice and roomy, there were lots of tables, and even a fire pit so we could have a fire. It was also at least 10 degrees cooler than home, so I was very happy. Nighttime was even better, it was cold enough to snuggle under the sleeping bag, and once we got past the first night and figured out which way to put the stupid sleeping bag so we were both covered, the second night was bliss. (As long as you ignored the dang bird that woke us up every morning at 5:30 shrieking at the top of it's lungs, the loud river going by less than a mile from us, and the early birds of our own campsite -- and did I mention the mosquitoes? UGH This photo is from Yellowstone and Old Faithful.)
Almost as fun as Yellowstone. The fun we had at Yellowstone though, was the Prairie Dogs -- but that's worth another blog on it's own.
What I found most amazing, however, was the night sky. I've been in the mountains camping before and seen stars, but this was the most outstanding sky I can recall ever seeing. Unfortunately, I didn't have a good enough camera to take pictures of it, so you'll have to see the ones I got off the NASA Picture of the Day website (which are amazing, you should check it out).
The only thing that compared, was when I was flying home from Hawaii last fall. It was a red eye flight so it was the middle of the night. I opened my window shade and the sky was full of stars. It felt like we were in the middle of them and it seemed surreal. I'll never forget that experience. It was the closest I'd ever been to them, and it really felt like you could reach out and touch them.
The sky we saw while camping this time though, was just more of an overload. It was as if someone had dumped all of the stars out of a bag and scattered them through the sky. There were so many constellations that I couldn't tell them apart (though, how people get some of the shapes out of things, I have NO idea -- just looks like a bunch of bright dots most of the time to me). I could have laid on my back and gazed at the sky until my eyes closed -- it was better than anything I could imagine.
I was amazed by the creative power of our Lord. The beauty He has given us, both on earth and in the heavens. Nothing is left to chance, nothing is plain -- all that we see was created by a loving and powerful hand to help us grow, learn and enjoy.
Two years ago I was fortunate enough to go on a cruise to Alaska. Previous to this outing, I would have thought Alaska boring. Green along the coast, perhaps, but cold, barren and uninviting. I wondered why anyone lived there (and we have two families in our ward that were raised there)and what attraction it could possibly have.
What an eye opener this trip was. Alaska was gorgeous! The small towns along the coast were quaint and rustic, exactly what one would expect from gold rush eras. It was mild weather, and much of what we saw was VERY green. I was totally floored. Let alone the flowers! I was captivated and took tons of photos of the flowers.
What I didn't get to see was the night sky. I had sooo hoped we would get a glimpse of the Auroras Borialis. But that didn't happen, since it didn't get dark until well past 10 pm, and we never stayed up late enough.
This past weekend reminded me of the various times in my life when I've seen the stars and been awed. I wanted to share that, and suggest that if you haven't had a chance to see the stars lately, perhaps you could take a late night drive up the mountains or away from town and get a real good look. There's nothing like the Lord's handiwork in full glow.
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