Thursday, December 6, 2012

Slumbering under the Milky Way

Have you ever slept under the stars?

I did a couple of nights ago. It wasn't something I planned, it was just an urge, a need, a desire.

I go for frequent walks at night, and Tuesday was unseasonably mild, as the weather people like to say. The night was also exceptionally clear. Orion was climbing above the horizon, like the mighty hunter that he is, announcing his presence to the world. And nearby, not far from his outstretched shield, was the nebulous, mysterious, unmistakable Milky Way.

The longer I stared, the more brilliant the sky became, with what looked like a billion stars twinkling from their far off perches in the sky. I slipped off my shoes, let the dewy chill of the grass seep into my feet, felt the very ground calling to me -- before long I was nude, lying in the grass, gazing into that world of outer space.

Later I awoke. The cold brought me back to consciousness, I suppose with the stirring of the breeze, the gentle touch of wind against bare skin. I thought about remaining there -- and I did for a few minutes, continuing to watch the stars -- but I was expected to arrive at work the next day, on time, to answer the phone and file papers and a hundred other inane little tasks, so I got to my feet, went inside to see it was already 2:30 in the morning, then climbed in the bed and slept.

Sitting here now, at my desk, everyone else in the office gone, I can recall the feeling of the air, the sense of the cool wet grass against my bare skin, and I wonder why we, as a race, ever left that state when we could simply stretch out under the stars and sleep, wake with the sun, bath in a river, walk to the fields and do our daily chores?

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