Friday, 15 April 2016

The Most Beautiful Thing

I would like to tell you about the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Five or so years ago, I was a cabin leader at a summer camp. This camp was located in a valley in the middle of Saskatchewan. Every night for chapel, we'd gather at the fire pit which was in a tiny clearing among the trees. Since the campers this particular week were teenagers, bedtime was a little later than it was with the younger kids, and we'd have to walk back to our wagons after evening chapel in the inky darkness.

One cool, clear night, we gathered around the crackling campfire, sang hymns, and the speaker began his talk. I say he began his talk because I don't recall if he ever finished it. He was interrupted by the Northern Lights.

Just above our heads, the lights took shape, and then changed shape, and then flipped around again, over and over, and then once more still. Yellow ribbons dueled against blue ones and green ribbons danced with them both, forever streaming forward on their fathomless journey to the edge of space. With the sky for a stage, they twisted and spun and swirled; and behind them were a million sparkling stars against a deep, black canvas.

Below, in our little clearing, all were silent.

We watched, mouths open in amazement. A hundred hormonal, scatterbrained teenagers, and we all just watched with wordless wonder until the rivers of light finally faded back into a formless mist.

When I was at Bible school, too, the Northern Lights would occasionally come to visit. My three roommates and I had crazy schedules that sometimes barely afforded us space to eat or sleep. Our tasks were due, our books and computers demanded all our devotion, and no thought could be permitted to take space in our heads if it didn't relate to our thesis. At these times, tears were common and we communicated little, all our energy and focus on our own concerns.

Yet.

Yet, if at any point in time, one of us received word that there were Lights in the sky outside, everything stopped. By silent agreement, we would immediately leave our books, pull on our boots, and walk across town to the darkest field.

Usually there wasn't much left to see by the time we got there, but we always went, regardless. Sometimes we lingered a while to appreciate only the stars and breathe the fresh air.

Our futures may have hung on the outcome of our studies, but we had our priorities right.

Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam...
Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in heav'n along...
Thou rising moon in praise rejoice
Ye lights of evening find a voice
 Oh, praise Him! 
Alleluia!

from "All Creatures of Our God and King"

3 comments:

Carolynn said...

What a beautiful story to share Carla honey!
Not only did I see what you described in my own mind's eye, your entry brought back some cherished memories of times when I've seen the northern lights (last time driving on a dark October evening with Uncle Art and Fay, heading to a dance in Coderre) or watched the stars - so bright and clear - outside Uncle Art's back door... no light pollution at his farm! I laugh... I once went outside to do it - SO dark I could barely see my own hand in front of me - when "something snorted" nearby! I hastened inside pronto!

Naturally I shared this with Uncle Art. He loved the story and laughed. Throughout the rest of the weekend he would sometimes chuckle, "something snorted at me".

On other nights sometimes the moon was so bright it cast dark shadows. On those occasions you could see to the very end of the lane a good 1/4 of a mile. I took a book outside at 11 pm and could read it with ease.

Love you!

Art said...

Yes. I need to see the Northern Lights again. It has been a long time.

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