I'm on a dark country road, the kind with trees arching overhead creating a vaulted roof of leaves and branches. It's the middle of the night and I have a burning need to get away. I'm so very sick of being around people who just parrot bullet points without thinking about what they're actually saying.
I'm over eight miles from the city. Nothing but forest fields and a few farmhouses. This is we're the Amish thrive. I've come as far as I can go. From the light pollution I can tell that I'm about I'm the middle of the three surrounding cities. I pull over on the side of the road, next to the first field that I come to. The irony that I have to come to an area that is defined by religion to get away from it is almost tangible. I flick my lights off, allowing the darkness to come crushing down. I leave my stereo running, the CD I have in might not be the most calming, but it's beat is close to this pulse of the night coursing through me.
I get out of the car and my gaze drifts heavenward. There it is, the milky way. The lights of a hundred billion stars and a hundred billion galaxies twinkle down at me, bathing me in their light. Even with the pollution from the neighboring cities and the light of the red-orange moon behind me the sky is still breathtaking. A tiny, almost impossibly small, sliver of the scale of it all crushes my mind in its awareness. I bask in my utter insignificance. The quick rythmic beats of the music keep me grounded as I dive into the depth. I'm reminded of this video I've seen on YouTube, science saved my soul. I stand there in this field, a big field, one on this landmass, which is sitting on this planet, that's orbiting a sun that is lightmintues away, which is light years from the closest other star, which is also light years from the next star out, ad infinium. I am an impossibly small speck, on another impossibly small speck covered in other similar to me impossibly small specks. Everything that I have ever loved, I had ever thought or known or hated, was nothing. All those goals and all those roadblocks that are the reasons I get up in the morning and the reasons for all the frustrations I have are nothing. Everything anyone has fought over amount to nothing. That though makes me angry and sad at the same time. People have died for nothing. Things that are so very important tin the muddle of the everyday are insignificant compared to reality. If only people would get a sense of this. True, it's not comforting, it's actually pretty terrifying, but at least it's real. It puts everything into a new perspective.
The next song starts, and I'm jolted out of the reverie. I hear the clip clop sound of horse hooves in the field behind me, and the sound of a house door slamming. Someone was a lot closer than I thought. A Amish man is coming to investigate why the hell an English is in his field. I try to imagine the thoughts I his head. It's it one English or a group, are they here to vandalize his property? Maybe I'm a burglar come to take his possessions, although why a burglar would go after an Amish is beyond me. I need to make a decision. Do I jump in y car and drive away, or do I stay and let him find me? If I leave now I'll be gone before he can do anything, although hell still be forced to walk out here and find out if I was doing anything. If I stay I have to deal with him, and he may or may not have a gun. I'm not sure what the Amish stance is on guns and how devoted he is to that particular teaching. I ask myself what would I want. I would want to know. So I stay.
His foots steps draw closed and he turns on a lantern. Who am I and what am I doing to his property? I tell him who I am and that I'm doing nothing other than flattening some grass on the side of the road. He asks what I'm doing out here this late at night? I'm stargazing, I didn't mean to wake anyone up and I'm really sorry that I did. Why would I waste my time doing that when I should be at home not waking people up. Well I live in the city, and I need to come pretty far out to get such a nice view, and that the stars are something that requires reflection. Each point of light is a ball of superheated gases that are probably bigger than anything anyone could really see. Each of those balls of fire are a few hindered million miles away from each other, a distance we couldn't even begin to comprehend. Around a good number of these stars are planets. Just like ours, orbiting around their star without the knowledge that someone is watching. Standing out here gazing into space is incredibly calming. It's the most humbling thing that I have ever experienced. I can look at those lights and understand my place in the universe. Everything that I could ever possibly do will mean nothing to the rest of the universe. At the same time though, small pieces of those stars are hitting me. Things that are impossibly far away are touching me. Im comforted by that knowledge. Knowing all that allows me to wake up each morning knowing that i have to go to a job that saps my empathy, that i have a family that at best tolerates me, that my future has a crushing amount of debt in it. Thats why I'm out here. After a minute he tells me that I should probably get home. I told him thanks for letting me stand on his property, and that i wished him a good night.
On the way home I passed plenty of houses, some with the lights on, but most were dark. I had no idea if any of those houses had people in them that ever had thoughs like these, but I hoped that tonight there were at least two.