Great Fullness


The night is cool and clear, a balmy 72°.  Breezes barely ruffle leaves on the maple tree. A soon to be Blue Moon is nudging towards fullness. It will be a second full moon this month.  It’s a perfect summer night – almost.  The stars are missing.  Well that isn’t exactly true.  They really are there, but not visible.   Why — light pollution.   I haven’t seen stars in such a long time that I sometimes doubt that they are there.

Ouray, Colorado was our favorite vacation destination for 10 years. Mesmerized by the sky’s glistening beauty each evening we paused to absorb it’s majesty.  When our granddaughter Elly was two years old she and her parents visited. At nightfall, our little band of family stood together looking up at the sky in stunned silence. Suddenly Elly began singing — “twinkle twinkle little star.”  Only music could express the stirring she felt.  This is one of my fondest memories. The vast sky and an innocent child’s voice singing a nursery rhyme .  Recalling this moment returns me to the experience of great fullness.

When the night sky is visible my complaints and pettiness disappear. I feel the eyes of the great mystery looking back at me. And I know that I am part of a bigger story not separate but a sister star living her own life.  Similarly on nights when Don and I fall asleep gazing into each others eyes I settle into a great fullness.

I would love to hear what brings a sense of great fullness to you. I know I’m not the only one who feels awe on starry nights.  According to a BBC article of January 2011 dark sky tourism is a small but growing trend.  People are actually planning trips to see the night sky.

This desire of mine is deeper than a fanciful longing. We need darkness to tell our busy brains to turn off.  Dark and light cycles return us to the natural rhythms of life.  Scientists tell us that they are required for mental and  physical health.

A few years ago I spent the entire night watching stars at the Kitt Peak Observatory in Az. My friend, Donna and I were guided by Jason, a young astronomer.  He showed us star nurseries, comets and things that defy description. For days after that I experience people as unfolding mysteries … Not things called people but a mysterious process.  I wish I could say the effect lasted, but it didn’t.  Maybe if I could look up at the stars on a regular basis I would remember the mystery of you and me.

But when I don’t see the stars, how can I remember that we all started as stardust.


Photo by Forest Wander

12 thoughts on “Great Fullness”

  1. What a sweet story of your granddaughter! I also love the travel group that plans trips around the starry nights. Sign me up!!!

    Pondering fullness and loving the journey. Thanks for the ride…

    Love, Lisa

  2. This auspcious blue moon has me in wonder and in deeper awareness. For I’m told everything is magnified on this day. What then, am I asking for, minute to minute? I wish I took this much care every second of my life. I too, miss the deep connection to nature. I too, have been blessed to have seen the sky without artificial light. The vastness of it shrinks my pettiness, it puts my “problems” in perspective and somehow, though the not-knowing is often unsettling, under that grand canopy the not-knowing is the greatest gift of mystery, imagination & faith. Thank you nancy for this opportunity to ponder:)

  3. Beautiful . . . just beautiful. Actually reading your words in this moment fills my heart. I, too, have missed the starry sky and the gazing into the sweet mysteries of the universe.

  4. Oh, my stars! Lovely writing, Nancy! One of my favorite childhood memories is being able to sleep outside with my brothers under a canopy of stars shining like millions of night lights. For a “city” kid from Joliet, a rare visit to my father’s house in then rural Oswego held many delights, none more precious than sleeping bags, what snacks we could pilfer from under the watchful eye of our step-mother, and the thrill of looking at the stars….I think I’ll call my brothers now!

    As always, thank you Nancy, for being a star!

    Love, Anna

  5. Love the story about your granddaughter and it brought back memories of my own childhood. When I was young my Mom and Dad would pack us 6 kids into the car with a camper in tow and we would head up to Ludington ,Michigan to the state park. After the campfire and endless somores my Dad would take us kids out of the park to the beach on Lake Michigan and Ill never forget the first time stepping out of the car and looking up at the sky. There were millions of stars it was as though you could reach up and touch them. I get a great fullness when we go back to Ludington cause it reminds me of my Dad and the great beautiful things he showed me. When are children were young John and I took them to the same exact spot and they too had the same reaction and were so excited to see such beauty. Now as Adults they too have traveled to the same spot in Ludington for the same reason and that brings fullness to my heart. Patti

  6. Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds beautiful. Reminds me of seeing “The Universe” exhibition a few weeks ago.

  7. Karen, then you know what I mean about the stars. It does shrink the importance of problems and lets me feel held in the palm of the Great Mystery!

  8. Patti, beautiful! It is a fullness that stays with us for a lifetime. I love the way being in nature can be passed from generation to generation. These are events that we never forget. Thanks for adding your stories to mine.

  9. Anna, I was right there with you in your recollection. Hidden snacks. Stars glowing. Out of the watchful parental gaze. Childhood memories. Touching. Thanks, Nancy

  10. Mary, I think many of us are longing for a full night sky. Once I wrote this other women told be of sadness and desire to be under the stars. We are all part of a much bigger story and when I see the star I recall that. Thanks for your words.

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