One of the nice things about living out in the campo here in Perú, would have to be the absence of light pollution. Sure there are some lights here and there, but the light pollution is no where near as strong as from my home in the U.S., which by many standards would be considered quite rural as well. And so in the absence of most man-made lights, the natural lights of our universe are able to shine even more brightly.
Living here in Perú, I have looked up and seen more stars than I ever have in my life. I’ve even seen an abundance of shooting stars, which makes me realize that they aren’t so rare, and in fact the rarity is the presence of a clear, dark, unpolluted night sky in the U.S. However, the most exciting thing I have seen looking up into the vastness of our universe, has been the Milky Way Galaxy. Prior to joining the Peace Corps and moving to Perú, the only time I had ever seen the Milky Way was in photos from books or videos from the internet. Now, I can look up nearly every night and enjoy its beauty.
I have tried my best to capture a proper photo of the Milky Way and the vast arrays of stars I see at night, but unfortunately my digital camera is not up to snuff for capturing the subtle light of the beautiful celestial bodies above us. However, with some fiddling, I was able to capture a familiar site to many, the Big Dipper Constellation (Ursa major to some). While I can’t see the Big Dipper all throughout the year, when I do manage to see it, I am comforted in knowing I could see those same stars back from my porch in the U.S.
For whatever reason, looking up at the night sky has always brought me peace and calm, and this is even more the case here in Perú. Much like the music of James Morrison, whenever I am feeling the stresses of work life here in Perú, gazing upwards at night and just watching the stars all around, gives me great tranquility and satisfaction.
For those of you who can, I hope you take a few minutes each night to ponder the beauty of the stars above us. Living here in Perú, I often think that it would do us well back in the U.S. and elsewhere to turn off the lights from time to time, and just appreciate the light of our universe.
Until next time,