Insignificant or Infinite?

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As the lights from our campsite faded, we entered an entirely different world. All of my surroundings became faint silhouettes outlined solely by the stars above. The ground, previously brown with rocks and sand, now carried a pale whitish tint, an ill-defined glow somehow illuminated by the stars.

Never before had I seen stars so resplendent. In New York, the stars are always blurred by relentless artificial lights or passing clouds. There, in Israel, in the desert, without a cloud or building light in sight, the stars…the stars shone. As if a heavy black blanket had smothered some unknown, perpetual, blinding white light, the thousands upon thousands of stars glittered through like minuscule ruptures in the veil.

While standing in the desert, I felt wholly insignificant in the most brutally revealing yet wonderfully eye-opening of ways. The ground stretched out beneath my feet for farther than my own mortal eyes could see. The sand, the rocks, and everything earthly tumbled out ceaselessly in all directions from my own body with nothing else in sight to hinder their path. There were no buildings, no people, no lights, no cities, and no sounds. The thought that I could sprint onward for hours without encountering any other form of life made me tremble; never before had I felt so alone and vulnerable. Our guide had instructed us to move out from our circle and sit estranged from the group to experience the full powers of the desert’s vast expanse. Though they sat only a few yards away from me, my friends’ bodies seemed to dissolve into the darkness until their silhouettes blended with those of rocks and other shadows. Quite alone, I squinted as an attempt to force my eyes to see as far as humanly possible. My human mind could not fathom the distance the desert stretched, let alone the contours of the planet. I realized then that I was but a mere dot on the landscape, a small girl, and a child in the scheme of experience. I was a human being…perishable, frail, and trivial in the scheme of life. Nearly alone in a vast desert, I was very vulnerable and very inconsequential.

And then I looked up. There they were, the stars, glimmering with relentless effulgence, their luster so magnificent that the moment seemed highly surreal. That one instant, the stars seemed tantalizingly close, their light so vivid that they appeared solid, tangible, and quite reachable. No longer were they the highly elusive matter of a dazed reverie. I felt powerful and wondrous, as if I could touch the stars, grasp them, hold them closely, and melt with their energy. Instead of remaining faint lights up above, they suddenly surrounded me on all sides and in all directions. They were so close that they had become the air that I breathed. And then I was breathing stars: the stuff of dreams and wishes, the evasive magic of the night. I felt as if I had dissolved into the same space of being as the intangible and untouchable, alone in the world with just the stars and their radiance. Their light pervaded my mind and it felt as if my feet had left the ground. How else could my eyes see the stars so closely, so perfectly? How else could I inhale their luster until every inch of my body glowed? I felt for sure that I had left the earth.

As I looked around me, I knew I could sprint onward for hours, my bare feet combing the ground without any external obstacles to worry or obstruct me. Wherever I went, the stars would follow me. I was alone in the midst of a world that expanded perpetually, both outward toward an invisible horizon and upward toward the stars. I was alone, and it felt as if I had become the center of an infinite world. I was infinite.





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IamtheshyStargirl said...
Aug. 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm
What a divine experience. You described it all perfectly, I felt as if I was there. Thank you for writing and submitting this, it makes the world and teenink all the better. 
 
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