The second night of our wilderness trip at Musquash Pond was cold and clear, and that was perfect for what we aimed to do—go stargazing. After a heartening supper of jambalaya (eaten out of mugs since somehow all the bowls got misplaced before we left), we all trooped outside and strapped on our snowshoes. As we snow-shoed out onto the pond, a distance of a few hundred feet since it was actually our “front yard,” there was talking and laughing amongst our group as we recalled events of the day. Gathering in a loose line out on the lake, hands outstretched for the hot cocoa that a few of us were carrying, our laughter resounded in the crisp air. Flashlights (the ones that hadn’t frozen yet) zipped across the empty space, pointed towards the sky in the hopes of outlining the many constellations we either recognized or made up. Finally, Alex suggested that we stand in silence for a few minutes to fully soak in the wonders of the stars.
As we stood, each of us looking at the heavens spread forth above us, the only sounds were the shuffling of our snowshoes and the sound of the slight wind rustling the frozen treetops. Each of us was lost in our own thoughts—while I was musing how looking at starlight is literally looking back in time, Sarah was thinking about how our small world is only a minute part of the gigantic universe, and Corbin was searching for shooting stars. The stars, too numerous to even begin counting, shone in the moonless sky, their pinpoints of light collectively lighting the frozen lake.
Slowly, each of us began to shuffle back, leaving at staggered times whenever we had drunk our fill of the stars. In hushed tones, we tried to put the beauty of the night sky into words, but we knew what we had just seen had to be experienced to truly be known. As we put on our layers and began to crawl into our warm tents for bed, the silent wonder that each of us departed with was worth more than words could ever say.
-Tally Levitz, Wayland, ME