So there was a night in the Sierras when I was camping alone. I was camping "alone" every night. But this night, I was really alone. I felt alone but not really. It was a different place to be.
There is no light for hundreds of miles. The sky is uncluttered without the light pollution all over it and the stars are bright like they have been for billions of years. Before we had our lights these were the nighttime displays that have projected onto mankind since we evolved into mankind. These are the nightly visions that even the cave men got to see.
I never get to see them. In the city I'm drowned in light. Even when I get back to a smaller town, the horizon is always full of others light.
Here I get to see the heavens. Truly, the real heavens.
The last embers of my camp fire barely glow under the layer of ash. My camera is laying in the dirt propped up against the last fire log that got saved from the burning pit. The shutter cable snakes across the dirt to my outstretched palm. I laid in dirt and looked up at stars before I pushed the shutter button.Cli..
I arose from the dirt and stepped over to the dying embers while the shutter stayed open to the milky way overhead. I hunched over those embers with a stick in my hand like my ancestors have done before me. I actually thought that when I took the stick and poked the embers. It was one of those thoughts that was about 2 seconds but was really full meaning for me. No big epiphany or anything. It was a very simple thing to do...squat next to a dying fire and poke at the coals. But in that dark place with those stars overhead I had a tiny little connection with the primitive instinct to keep the fire going and gaze at the night sky. I felt for a moment like it was some sort of cave man right of passage that they all passed through without ever being asked to. Even for the several seconds I squatted there stoking the coals it felt instinctual to do so...ck!
I had not seen through the viewfinder and propped the camera in the dirt where I thought the camera could take in everything. There is only so much of the Milky Way that any camera can see,but it got a big enough piece for me.