Tonight I drove a couple of hours north of where I currently live with nothing really planned other than I wanted to be on the road listening to my favorite music, thinking about all the things that have been happening in my life lately. Places like the road, the shower, long walks to nowhere are perfect places for introspection.
So I drove for awhile and I was listening to Beirut with this one song on repeat. It’s called “The Rip Tide.” Do you know it? I don’t know why but I really like that song a lot. I listened to that song on repeat a few times while driving along the coast of Lake Michigan. When you live in Michigan it’s really not that hard to drive out of the city and end up in the middle of nowhere within a short amount of time. So that’s what I did. I ended up in a place where the stars were so clear and so bright, more so than I think I’ve seen in quite awhile.
Do you remember the last time you looked at the stars? I mean, REALLY looked at them? I wonder what kind of people we would we be if we all took the time to notice things a little bit more closely.
There’s lots of reasons we should all look at the stars more often. And I don’t just mean glancing up at the sky and remembering they exist but like, actually taking half an hour of your evening to find a place you can just sit and let the expansion of the universe overcome you. Looking at the stars isn’t going to make that person text you or give you 2 hours of your life back that you wasted on a bad movie this weekend or cure cancer or anything, but it’s still a powerful and important experience we should all have more often.
For one, stars are beautiful. If you can find your way to a place where the air pollution isn’t terrible and it’s a clear night, they are really, really beautiful in an omnipresent kind of way. They remind us just how small we really are. Not only us, our size in general, but how small our problems are, how small our lives are, in relation to the universe.
Looking at the stars helps us keep perspective that whatever we think is so important and overwhelming and difficult in life right now is actually very insignificant. We’re all just little stardust in the wind. Maybe that’s why it feels so good to look up at the stars. Every atom in your body is begging to go home.