When Mother Nature is Your Co-Worker: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Jul 6, 2020

Being in the right place at the right time doesn't always guarantee that the natural world will conspire with us for a magical experience ~ but sometimes it does! Waxing Moon on its way to eclipse, caught in the elegant arms of the Mackinac Bridge July 3, 2020 by msa.

So maybe you heard there was an eclipse last weekend. Did you see it? Or did you go out to look at the brilliant lunar light and wonder what everybody was talking about? Sometimes it’s like that.

There can be times when there is so much hype around a phenomenon that the actual experience of it lands like a thud. And it’s really sad when this happens around natural phenomena, because the thrill of these kinds of things is heightened exponentially when we accidentally encounter them.

So how can we live in harmony with the unpredictability of nature, and not get discouraged? The answer lies in knowing that it’s got something to do with us, that we are part of nature’s larger rhythms. To know this we can’t be racing around chasing the transient phenomena, we find it by emulating the stillness and quiet intimacy of it all, kind of like the fixed stars in the night sky. They aren’t showy like the falling stars, or the dancing northern lights, or even like the shadows of an eclipse~but there’s certainty in their presence, the kind of certainty that we can rely on, even in the most uncertain times.

Over my many years of storytelling about the night sky, I’ve learned that, if you go out of your way to experience celestial phenomena, magic happens, even if you don’t see the thing you’re looking for. It’s like the natural world knows we’re trying to engage with its greater rhythms, and this never goes unnoticed, though the response may come at another place and another time. The natural world asks us to realize that if we don’t find the happy experience of the thing we seek, at least we’ll have had the happiness of seeking it.

So this week, go find a star, any star, learn its name, find out what it means in the culture that named it that, and ask yourself, why this star, and what stands in the way or even helps me to encounter it?