Answers from the night skyPublished 10:29am Thursday, February 3, 2011
Last night, on the way to the house, from the barn I stopped to look up at the trees and the sky.
Maybe I stopped because my legs were tired or because I wanted to savor the crisp cool air before going inside. It was one of those winter nights when the sky is so clear that it seems like you can see into infinity. And maybe you can.
Who knows how far infinity is anyway?
I stood there for quite a while, snug in my down coat and woolen mittens. Looking at the stars always brings a timelessness into my thoughts, knowing people have been looking up at those stars for thousands upon thousands of years.
Did they ask the same questions that I ask? Did they hear the same sounds that I was hearing, the sounds of leaves blowing in the cold breeze, and of the birds, and the squirrels and I-26 traffic? All but the latter, I suspect.
While standing there I got a very comforting thought; the answer to my ever-constant question of “What am I supposed to be doing next?”
The answer was simple, though all encompassing. My job, as one very tiny entity in this huge cosmos, is to receive information and to discern the truth. How I process and use the information that I receive determines my tiny 100+ millionth contribution to the world.
The difficulty is to figure out what part of what I hear is true, and what is false. We hear talk, talk, talk all the time. A couple hours before I had heard talk about what the weather was going to be …. when the snow was coming and how much we were going to get. The person talking said the weatherman said we’d get 6 or more inches the next day, and if he was wrong then he needs to be fired.
Standing there under the stars I could tell by looking at the sky that we were going to get snow soon. I could see it and feel it. A person standing under that same type of sky 500 years ago would have come to the same conclusion; the information was presented in the form of sight, sound and feel.
I thought about the poor weatherman looking at all those charts and graphs, thinking about how much easier it was to look and feel what the sky was telling me than looking at a computer screen.
Did I know how much it was going to snow? No. Did I need to know? No. Did the natural surroundings tell me what I needed to know? Yes. Did the sky give me enough truthful information to plan accordingly and bring in extra armload of wood? Yes.
Actually, Allen brings in the wood, for which I am very grateful.
Bert Browning gave me a very good piece of advice 31 years ago when we needed to hire someone to do some challenging roadwork. He said, “Look around for the person who had been in the business the longest, and hire him.” This has been good advice.
Taking that advice deeper, it means that we ‘re best served to use the oldest and most reliable sources of information to answer our many questions as to how to live and what is of real importance.
Our new technological age has oodles of answers, but are they relevant and are they the answers that we really need? Ultimate truth does not come in the form of sound bites. Truth is not modern, nor new; yet it is meaningful truth that we seek.
I got more answers to more questions looking up at the sky on a cold night than I’ve gotten from the news for weeks. I think the information and the answers to many of the questions were really inside of me; the quiet and security that the night provided allowed the answers to come out.
And then it snowed, 6 inches.