Dark Skies Show Us Stars — by Bear GuerraOne of my earliest childhood memories finds me waking from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, during a family road trip. Far from any city lights, I look out the window toward the sky above, and for the first time, I see what seemed to be an infinitude of stars. I’ll never know for sure if I was actually dreaming or not, but I still have the distinct recollection of becoming aware of the immensity of the universe in which we exist. I still recall the intense mix of awe, fear, and hope that I felt, unable to look away until the stars faded with the first light of day.
I often think back to that night and the deep connection I felt to the natural world. But in recent years, the memory has also taken on a metaphorical connotation, reminiscent of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous words of hope, “Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” Today it is not uncommon to read or hear or believe that we are living in “dark times”—such is the state of the world, and our need for hope in the face of many challenges: climate change, inequality, isolation, pandemic, to name only a few.
I, too, have spent most of my life thinking of darkness as a problem demanding more light—in both the literal and the symbolic sense. But perhaps this fear of the dark has been part of our collective problem.