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Monthly Archives: November 2012

I grew up in an urban area. I knew that the sky was full of stars, but only in stories. At night I was lucky to see a handful of stars, thank you light pollution. I saw the big dipper, Orion, the moon, the occasional Jupiter, Mars, or Venus, and a vast assortment of airplane lights. For a while I thought that was all there was out there, despite what I learned from Magic School Bus. I’d heard stories that alluded to the wonders of the night sky. I’d had trouble reconciling the mostly black canvas, tinged with a yellowish haze near the horizon, with the descriptions of thousands of bright lights that I heard.

I’d seen star filled skies on trips to national parks, but it was always partly cloudy, or I was too tired to really notice and take it in. It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 when I participated in an eight week long field school in northern Idaho that I truly learned to appreciate the wonders of the night sky, the beauty of the stars and the brightness of the moon. I saw the Milky Way for the first time, it was as wonderfully beautiful as I’d heard people describe. I saw more stars than I’d ever seen in my life, and that was only looking at a small part of it. I saw the stars rotate around the sky as the summer wore on. I saw a moon so bright it blocked out a meteor shower. Stars that could light up the path between my tent and the port-a-potties (poetic isn’t it?).

The stars are what I missed first and most strongly. People I could keep in touch with, stars were simply missing. They were there one night, reminding me that the universe is not just blackness. They were comforting in a way. Beautiful and awe inspiring. They are something that is seen by only a small percent of the modern world’s population, and even fewer Americans. Most of us spend our nights in well lit cities and suburbs. Places that never sleep, where the lights don’t go out. We live in places that have effectively blocked out the night sky. It’s unfortunate really. You don’t realize what you’ve been missing until you experience. You can read about some things as much as you want, see pictures, hear stories. But nothing compares to the experience of looking up at a sky filled with stars, at the milky way, and seeing that planet Earth is just floating in blackness.

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Tonight is election night. The night that defines how the next four years are going to go. The night that gives us an idea which direction this country is headed. It is the subject of many heated and passionate debates. Friends arguing with friends over who is better qualified to run the most powerful (at least in our eyes still) country in the world. It’s Obama vs. Romney 2012.

I would just like to say that, while I am not very active in politics, mostly because I find it hard to trust anyone that spends that much time and resources to make that many negative commercials sort of challenging, I do have some fairly strong beliefs on how this country should be governed. Let’s just say I fall on the Liberal side of the political line. I hope one day to actually be active, but at the moment I have enough troubles of my own without trying to take on all of the baggage this country tries to check at the gate.

That being said, I have already made plans to move to Canada if a Republican, especially the one currently running for office, is elected. The vague plans are basically go for the border and don’t look back. Where I will live is still a question as is citizenship. I have talked of this before, in 2008, when I made similar plans if McCain was elected. This time at least I’m out of high school, as are the friends I have made these very generalized plans with. My fingers, and several other sets, are crossed that my plans do not have to be put into effect and I can finish out my education in the USA

If not….I’m thinking Quebec or Montreal, maybe Vancouver…..

 

 

The road less traveled may seem scary and intimidating. It is unknown, or less known. It is not as well marked and not as well mapped. There are mysteries and darkness. It is an adventure waiting to happen. Everything that makes it scary makes it exciting. Knowing that your treading a path that few before you have traveled has it’s own special allure. You are seeing things that few have or will see. At the end your perspective will be different, your view of the world will have changed. By taking this chance and walking that road you will have become a more interesting person. You will have something to offer that those who take the heavily traveled route do not because you have experienced something outside the norm. And for that you are unique. Unique is not bad, it is simply unique.

So if you have a chance to change directions and try something that other people have turned down. If you have a chance and can afford to deviate from your well paved road then I suggest you at least stop and think about it. If you meet someone who has taken such a road then listen to their story and what they have to say, chances are that you will learn something. A different experience in life does not make a person flawed or less than someone who has taken the “traditional” route through life. If anything, it makes them more interesting for having been through what they have been through, for having seen what they have seen.

This country has some beautiful landscapes. Our national parks are national treasures, and we should treat them as such. They are not just tourist destinations. They are places to be properly appreciated. Admired. And treated with respect. They are not just places to take your family for a good time and a trip to the hotel pool.

I highly recommend visiting as many national parks as you can during your lifetime. Go camping, go hiking. Take pictures, but don’t take anything else. Be respectful to the wildlife, remember it’s their natural habitat. Be conscientious of where you are. Don’t litter. Treat nature as you if you were a guest at someone’s house. In a way you are a guest.

Most of all help support the national parks. Places like Yosemite and Yellowstone only exist because of public support (the government is a form of public support, since the public has to support government actions). So find ways to help keep our national parks open, and the national parks association running.