Thursday, August 1, 2013

Under the Stars

In general I am not a fan of the Arizona landscape.  It is not my favorite.  I don't hate it, I don't love it, I am just meh about it.  Until I get to the pine trees and then I do love it.  I love looking out over the mountains and seeing a sea of trees.  I find it calming and reassuring.  So part of what I hoped to share with my Girl Scout troop this trip was that awe that I feel at times when I am in nature.  Whether or not I succeeded I am unaware, but I tried to share how it makes me feel.  Sometimes, though words are not possible to describe what I feel when I am in nature. 

Our troop camping trip started out a little rough because the camp we were supposed to go to had pump issues with their well and had no water.  Well (he he) that was not acceptable, so we were rerouted to another Girl Scout camp.  We rolled with the punches and talked up the cool things we would be doing instead of canoeing and rock climbing (the camp we ended up at did not have these activities).  The girls were great and adjusted to the change with enthusiasm.  Until the camp told us that we would be having a sleep out the second night of our trip.  Trepidation was felt all around.  I was not sure how sleeping under the stars would go with a few of my girls who were not so outdoorsy. I also had a few homesick girls who were putting on their bravest faces for us in the evening when it was hardest, but still cried at night. 

So I started out the evening thinking that after the girls watched their movie out on the field we would be moving back into our cabins to sleep.  I could not have been more wrong.  I underestimated their energy level and their willingness to try new adventures.  More than half were asleep before the movie ended.  We had one girl who wanted to go back when it was over, but she was willing to try to stay out since no one else wanted to go back. 

It was a beautiful night.  The clouds had cleared away and the stars were amazing.  The sheer vastness of the universe was very humbling.  To think that from other planets we look like a small dot in the sky is amazing.  The number of stars and planets that were visible was awe inspiring as well.  Even with the lower levels of light pollution where I live we do not see the night sky in this way.  It was amazing, did I say that already?   Let's try marvelous then. 

The only sounds were the beetles and crickets making night music.  The breeze was cool and soft, and the air was finally cool and comfortable.  We were all sleeping next to each other squeezed onto tarps.  There was a sense of community and togetherness you don't feel sleeping on bunks in a cabin. 

I however did not sleep.  Once my girls were comforted and sleeping other ones began having issues.  Intermittently throughout the night we heard panic, crying, anxiety and chit chat.  They had to wake up friends to have a truddy to go to the bathroom.  They then had to find their way back to where they were sleeping, and it was dark enough to make that a little challenging after having been in the unnaturally bright lights of the bathroom. 

There were moments of peace however when all human noise was silent except for the soft breathing of little girls all around me (and the leader snoring a few sleeping bags down from me).  I did manage to sleep a few hours, I think.  It was peaceful, quiet in a natural buzzing way and the stars were a great night light to observe.  I even saw a shooting star as I lay there thinking about how proud I was of my girls for trying something new, and of myself for actually sleeping outside as well.  This is something I would not have been capable of a few years ago.  I reminded myself as I looked into the night sky to not underestimate myself or my girls again, because when we put our minds to it we can do anything. 

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