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stars

I used to hunt all the time. I’ve never shot a four-footed critter, but mainly birds. Dove, pheasant, and ducks usually presented more than enough of a challenge to keep me interested. So when my buddy here in Colorado Springs invited me to go with him into the national forest for elk hunting, I thought it would be great to try something different for a change. I wasn’t disappointed.

To be clear, I wasn’t planning to hunt. The plan was to hang out in camp, read my books, enjoy the higher altitude and fresh mountain air, be in solitude, and experience some quiet. First of all, I did hang out in camp and enjoyed the air, but not by myself. There was no solitude or quiet (my guys constantly chattered like caffeine-induced chipmunks). I hiked 6 miles in a driving snowstorm the first day, and substantially more miles the next day. They carried guns; I did not. We saw elk but none they could shoot. My guys had bull-tags, and only cows graced us with their presence, so no meat.

Bears Ears Peaks

The scenery was breathtaking. The mountain we were on is called Bears Ears, named for its twin peaks that look like the top of a bear’s head, though you can only see that from a distance. Inside the forest, you primarily had two kinds of trees: pine and aspen. I know the forest was full of hunters, but I can’t imagine anyone left disappointed. The natural state of the forest is absolutely gorgeous. The aspen grove where we hunted still supported a few gold-colored leaves. From our vantage point, you could take in the massive aspen grove, the dark timber above the grove, and the distant snow-covered ranges that explode brightly under a darker blue canopy of mountain sky. It really was something to see. I loved it all!

Of all I just described, none of it touched the real show… the unexpected gift… the thing that actually brought me to tears. STARS! Oh my goodness! Each night that we camped, the sky was crystal clear (a freezing 15 degrees clear, but clear nonetheless). The closest town to where we were camping was 40 miles away on a dirt road, so there was no artificial light in the forest. Honestly, I couldn’t get over how dark it was.

They should have sent a poet. —Dr. Ellie Arroway

Living in Colorado Springs isn’t conducive to star gazing. There are almost a million people living here now, so we need blackout shades on our bedroom windows, even during the night. When I’m back home in Texas, I can be out in the country within minutes, but there’s usually a Gulf wind blowing a lot of hazy moisture in the atmosphere. It’s just different in the desert and Rocky Mountains.

After that first night, I couldn’t wait for the evening sky to reveal itself. It was that mesmerizing. So many stars! The thickness of stars is what was so unique. They’ve been there, but it’s like some one opened the screen door. The Milky Way looked like a long cloud of smoke across the sky. I’ve just never seen it like that. I genuinely teared up several times at the beauty of it. Jodi Foster’s character in Contact had it right: “They should have sent a poet.”

So, for four days I never took a book out of my backpack. I think having my head up, instead of down in a book, was the better outcome in this situation. Maybe engaging in all the chipmunk chatter was rightly warranted and proper human interaction. But listen, figure out how to go see stars again! It’s the ultimate painting of what’s bigger than us. They’re out there speaking to us about our paradigms and big opinions… reminding us that the universe doesn’t swirl around “me” and our little interests. I know there’s lots of talk these days about “grounding.” Go see some stars. You’ll get your grounding back on. I guarantee it.

Live every day inside this magnificent truth: GOD LOVES US ALL!

BE GOOD AT LIFE!

Mike

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 24, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Stellar reminder, Bro! Inspiring.

  2. Clark Morman
    October 24, 2017 at 8:49 am

    The heavens declare the glory of God! I say keep looking up!

    The declaration is big and powerful and the beauty of God and what He has created is most inspiring to say in mere words.

    I look at Romans and I see in the 1st chapter verse 20 that His divine power has been clearly seen through His creation of what He has made. We are with out excuse—He has given us Jesus to believe in and an amazing view of the stars that He put in place.

    Thanks for sharing your hunting experience and the pictures.

    God bless!

    I love you Mike!

  3. R. Steven Johnston
    October 24, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Great reminder of how insignificant we are in the universe. Why do we get so caught up in our stuff, and not pay attention to the wonders of the universe? Love to you and Miss Patti. Steve J.

  4. michael moody
    October 24, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Mike, Now you know why we call it “ God’s Country “ I am just a year or two younger than you (58 1/2 ) and I have been experiencing this since I was a small boy. Born in Breckenridge, grew up in Idaho Springs, went to college in Grand Junction, worked in Boulder, where I met my Fort Worth Wife, married her, and my daughters birthplace. I have had enough of October snow storms and sleeping outside below 40, so I stick to the summer months. Besides the beauty, nothing smells better than the crisp morning mountain air.

    Were you on the Craig side or the Steamboat side?

    As spectacular as the stars are in the high country away from the towns, I will tell you the best place I have ever seen the stars. Terlinqua Ranch in Big Bend. You feel like you can just reach up and touch them. People come from all over the country to watch them.

    Your daily writings are vital for my spirit and my soul. With this Trump mess I have all but given up on the so called Church.

    Mike Moody

    • October 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Michael, I did a motorcycle trip down into Big Bend several years ago and visited the McDonald Observatory. The weather wasn’t too cooperative, but it was also amazing.

      My dear brother… don’t measure all of the big “C” church by what you might experience with any particular small “C” church (especially political verbiage). I understand the frustration (trust me on this), but there are places to worship that are not so religiously certain that God backs a political party. It is a cluster… no doubt… but not everyone in the Church is a right-wing republican. There is diversity. Seek it out if you need too.

      Thanks Michael!!!

  5. October 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    The first time I saw what you described about the stars was when I was camping in Nsoko, Swaziland. I couldn’t believe that I could actually see the swirling of the stars in the deep darkness of the wide open sky with the naked eye. It was absolutely magnificent! Thank you for sharing your experience! Love you!

    • October 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      RIGHT! The lights of Vegas and Times Square provide a lot of pop, but it can’t touch what He’s got going on!

      Love you too!

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