City of Lights

“Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches. Yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth. Man struggles to find life outside himself, unaware that the life he is seeking is within him. Nature reaches out to us with welcome arms, and bids us enjoy her beauty; but we dread her silence and rush into the crowded cities, there to huddle like sheep fleeing from a ferocious wolf.” -Kahlil Gibran

Let me start by saying I am one of the few lucky people to have spent time living in both a busy city and a vast wilderness. I have returned home to Chicago a month ago from traveling to the Patagonia region of South America which is located in Argentina. My experiences there were wild and unlike anything I have ever seen. No doubt I will reference them from time to time. During my last night there I slept on a beach beneath the stars. Now, I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and while I was growing up, I always thought I had a pretty clear view of the sky. This particular suburb was more towards the rural end, and so on a summer night it got to be a respectable level of darkness. I gazed up at the sky every now and then and can remember thinking that summer stars were pretty. But if you live in a city, or even near a city the night sky does not reveal to you what it did to me that night in Argentina.

What I saw was absolutely astounding. I didn’t want to go to sleep because it would be taking away my time of looking at that gorgeous night sky. And some time during the middle of the night it dawned on me how unfortunate it was that the most beautiful things this earth has to offer are things that so few people get a chance to see. Why is that? Is it because we have all forgotten it is there? Would we really rather look at pretty pictures of nature on our iPads than go out and see it for ourselves? I wondered this for awhile and before I fell asleep I vowed to myself to never forget what is out there waiting for us.