Stargazing on the Prairie

I am lucky enough to live in a location where the stars are visible at night. There might not be a lot to do out here out on the prairie, but go to any city in the world and you wont see the myriad of stars that fill up a clear night sky in a rural setting.

Tonight I went stargazing with some friends. We bundled up in warm clothes, as it is a chilly (though beautiful) autumn night; I brought out my TOMS Nepal Boots that are oooh so toasty for the first time since last winter and grabbed my mittens for good measure (and boy, did I end up needing them). We headed out to a field that is close to campus, lied down on the grass, and found ourselves viewing a completely different world.

I was feeling really anxious today, I think because I’ve been overwhelmed by my history senior seminar. I absolutely love my topic (I’m examining the Blair family as a case study for understanding pre-Civil War Northern Nationalism, which I find to be so interesting), but I think I have too many sources and I don’t know what to do with them all; I certainly know that I don’t need all of them.

My anxiety went away though tonight while stargazing. I was overcome with wonder at this world we live in and our situation in this vast universe. I was overcome with how beautiful this world is. How amazing it is that we can see these stars, which are billions of miles away…that we can see these stars that extinguished a long, long time ago…that we can see them because that’s how long it took for their light to reach us here on this planet called Earth in this galaxy called the Milky Way. It’s so amazing.

That got really deep, really fast.

I guess what I’m trying to say is how necessary tonight was for my well being. I was really tempted to go do more homework tonight, but I found out that people were going to go stargazing and I really wanted to join them. I was slightly disappointed in myself for not choosing to do homework, but would I even have been productive? I’m still feeling overwhelmed by my senior seminar (it probably doesn’t help that my big stack of books is sitting right next to me as I write this). Thank goodness I have an appointment at the Writing Center on Wednesday to talk over my ideas with a tutor! Usually when I get like this–overly anxious–about a project, I know that talking it out with someone will help and give me some more inspiration for how to move forward. I probably wouldn’t have gotten anything done if I would have tried to do homework tonight. Facebook probably would have happened…for far too long, and then I just would have felt crappier for wasting time.

No, stargazing was wonderful. It was a much needed escape. Tomorrow I should be all ready to get to work, but tonight…tonight was for me. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to separate myself from my school work because I get so invested in it; I’m so glad I did tonight.


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