The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Looking Up

Another day of work is done at Camp Cody, the sleep away camp responsible for tucking my summer months into New England forests. Hours after the kids’ bedtime, I round up Allyssa and Rachel, two of my co-counselors who share my sense of wanderlust and more so the need for a cigarette to decompress from the screaming frenzy that engulfs most waking hours here.

After meeting by the shower house at the designated time, the three of us wander the property, now rid of children and heavy surveillance. We walk down the path away from the cabins we came in. Bathed by night, we are found in the white, true glow of the full moon. Illuminating our world in shades of grey, this light reveals something breathtaking, pure, new compared to the spectrums of day. Our moon shadows behind us, we bask in this rebel light.

The best part of New Hampshire forest is its remoteness; no noise or light pollution to disturb our brushes with nature. We decide stargazing is in order after a shooting star catches our eyes. Looking for the best spot, we come to caged tennis courts and slip through the gate. It is unlit. The ground still holds the warm of day.

My dad once told me about my uncle's travels through Europe. At some point, he could not find his way back to his hostel, so instead took to sleeping on the bench of a café instead. Without a pillow, he took a book of matches from his pocket and used that instead. Lying on my back, I channel him and cushion my head with a folded up bandana. The world is yours to sleep on, I feel this pillow say, unlocking the door to many beds ahead.

"This is so amazing," Allyssa whispers, palms pressed flat against the court.

For a single moment, anxiety shifts its weight onto my consciousness, begging me to scan for bears, wolves, and any other creatures that could ruin our night. But this fear sees the fence at least 12 feet high in every direction, and for the first time I see entrapment as potentially protective, not incarcerating. Anyway, if it is a cage, then we are the wild.

Focusing back on the sky, I sink into the concrete and let my attention loosen into the speckled, violet portrait above. At first they are two-dimensional, the stars, as though holes were poked in the cloak of the night enveloping us. I once imagined the world as God's eye and the night as his eyelid, blinking away another day.

As I meditate on the scene, the depths of this frontier suddenly melt from a flat map of dots to something infinitely deep, impossibly complex. The sky seems to radiate with light, reveal a deep map of naturally intricate design. Mother nature is an artist.

Like finding new love, I found the sky in that moment of acknowledgement. An appreciation I have never really had for it filled me, taught me of my tiny yet significant place in this world. My place, I suppose, is to see it, to bear witness.

After minutes go by, I break the silence of our group. "You know, if life forms did ever find us, all they would see is some loser planet sending out all these communications to no one in particular."

We laugh and agree. Rachel adds, "Yeah, there are probably a bunch of alien life forms out there that just ignore us. We're like that guy that everyone pretends to be busy around because he tries too hard."

"But at least we try." I whisper more than say.

After a while longer we leave our cage and bid each other goodnight, heading in separate directions towards our assigned cabins. I cannot help but glance at the sky now and again, still in awe of the new discovery.

To think all this time I had never truly seen what was right above me, something I am learning is too often the case. The truth is, we don’t know where we might find enlightenment. The beauty of being awoken is that we did not know we were sleeping in the first place. The night sky humbles me, makes me quiet on the inside.

Creeping into a cabin of sleeping kids, I slide into my bed and lie on my back once again, thoughts of the world dancing in my head, loving this loser planet.

Your weekend warrior,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful descriptions

February 19, 2012 at 9:37 PM  

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