Dark and cold usually surrounded these moments, but darkness was always required. We’d be gathered with 20 or 200 city teens under the stars, usually standing together in a circle. Sometimes the circle was more clumpy than circular. The depths of how dark it could be, out in the clearing of the forests of Prescott, always astounded them. Their astonishment always astounded me. And, once they turned off their flashlights and were truly surrounded by a smothering blanket of deep night, they would gasp in astonishment. How easy it was to succumb to the darkness, that darkness which we thought we had mastered.
The kids would always start to chatter in the darkness as if their noise would hold back the monsters or at least the unkown. I’d ask them to be silent. When they were able to do so, I’d ask them to look up and that’s when the deepest gasp and awe would begin. For although they had been out here many nights during the week, they had never actually looked up. For if they had, the would have already seen the thick smear of stars across the night sky. Silence would settle over them and I’d begin to sing:
"You are child of the universe,
No less than the trees and the stars.
You are child of the Lord of Life,
Be still and know I am God, you are child."
Eventually they’d join me in song. A Cappella singing by teens in the forest: Mind Opening.
I was and am moved by the power that even these little bits of light, concentrated in such a small area, can have on people. I found it ironic that although we walk amongst the stars for many nights and months, we seldom look up. How many times have we walked (under near over around) points of light and missed it? Is that storytelling in itself?