Thursday, April 16, 2009

On The Road Again

~ As I wrote in an earlier post, I love nothing more than to be on the open road, the highway stretching off to the far horizon, and naught to distract me but my own thoughts, songs, dreams, and fantasies.

Having now arrived in Sydney after a two and a half day drive, I am feeling somewhat tired, but relaxed and happy to be here. What follows are some of my observations from the road.

I left Adelaide at 1pm on Easter Monday. My intention was to drive to Ouyen, in Victoria, and spend the night there, probably at the local pub, or in a local motel I have stayed at before. In the end, I didn’t quite make to Ouyen. I pulled into a lay by just after dark, and decided to sleep in the back of the wagon.

I’m glad now that I did.

As night fell, the stars came out, and what an incredible sight they made.

There’s a whole galaxy out there, people!

For the first time in years, I was able to see beyond the first ‘layer’ of prominent stars to the galaxy – or galaxies – beyond.

In the city it is easy to spot the Big Dipper or the Southern Cross, but tonight the Southern Cross in particular, was much harder to spot, because it was hidden in amongst billions of other stars that make up the Milky Way. And what a light show the night sky was putting on for me. Every few minutes or so shooting stars went streaking overhead like fireworks on New Years Eve.

Again, in the city you see only the biggest, brightest shooting stars, but out in the open air, far from street lights, and house and building lights, even the smallest, briefest asteroids were made visible.

Then there is the constant ‘traffic’ passing overhead in the night sky. Planes mostly, en route for Sydney and Melbourne and beyond. But then there are the other objects crisscrossing beneath the heavens. Satellites of course, though how many of those are out there presumably only NASA knows. The space station is out there too, somewhere, and who knows what else!

The air was filled with the songs of crickets, while way off in the distance a lone dog was barking a warning – but to who or what?

Maybe it was the fox I saw at 6am the next morning, crossing a vast open field, heading home to its den following a night foraging for supper. At least, the rooster crowing in the new day, had survived another night of Mr. Fox’s midnight ramblings.

As I watched and waited for the sun to come up, I couldn’t help thinking that I would have missed all of this if I had checked into a hotel for the night.

It’s not enough to know that all of this is still out there – even if we city dwellers rarely see it. Sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone and experience it first hand for yourself.

Life is not a dress rehearsal for something more exciting, interesting or fulfilling, folks.

This is it. This is as good as it gets.

So get out there and make the most of it.

IMAGE: Country Morning, by Jim Lesses

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