Friday, November 4, 2011

Milky Way Walk

About thirty years ago, my son and I stood on a lonely road in a silent campground. It was near two a.m. He woke me up, needing an escort to the bathrooms that were located about a quarter mile away. One hard and fast rule in our family was that none of the kids went to the bathrooms alone after dusk.

I couldn't find the flashlight so we set off in the dark. There was so little ambient light that I could bare discern his presence even though he was wearing a very light colored shirt. We hiked from our individual camp site out to the "main" campground road and then turned toward the restrooms. The little drive down to our camp site was hemmed in by trees, but the main road was clear and open to the sky.

I made some inane comment about the lack of moonlight and he looked up. And stopped dead in his tracks so I nearly ran him down.

"What is that, Mom?"

"That's the Milky Way."

We stood there so long we started shivering though the night was warm. As we stood on that deserted little gravel road, I pointed out the constellations I was familiar with. We talked about how I used to walk out into the desert with my father and look at the stars.

After a while, we continued our journey to the restrooms and eventually made our way back to the tent. He grew up as our children do and left home. Over the years whenever we've had the chance to get together, inevitably we will look at each other and say, "Do you remember?"

Yes, we remember that time out of time as we stood under the glory of the Milky Way, billions of fiery stars flung across the sky.


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