Finding Wonder after Dark 

Just the other night, we broke our typical evening routine by sacrificing a little sleep and heading to the nearby mountains to view the Lyrid Meteor Shower—a first since moving to Los Angeles. It honestly took some time for us to find a spot that wasn’t flooded by the city’s lights, but once we settled in on a graveled bend on Chatsworth’s Box Canyon Rd and started looking up time came to a stop.

As all new ventures, we didn’t really know what to expect, attempting to figure out the constellations we studied in school while continuously scanning the vast night sky for burning debris from Comet Thacher that occasionally streaked across the upper atmosphere at 110,000 mph.

After several minutes of allowing our eyes to adjust to the dark, I spotted my first meteor, a small glow in the East. Then our Son, DJ, noted a couple. Tricia missed these, and her voice softened in our ongoing conversation as she searched with deepened desire. Eventually she excitedly pointed out a long ray that cut across the Heavens. There we were, huddled together with our backs resting against the side of the car, looking up, and feeling really really small under the umbrella of the night sky. Yet, in that smallness there was a sense of joy that came from it: Wonder.

During our foray into the darkness, not a single thought entered my mind about the success of my company, who I needed to contact the next day, or what payments had to go out. Every bit of energy was spent celebrating our smallness!

Time passed, and the chill of the mountain air began to set in, but we lingered, hoping we’d all catch the same meteor together. Honestly, I whispered a prayer for that moment to come soon, and shortly thereafter we all called out a shooting star that dropped far to the West. Having closure in the shared experience, we regathered in the warmth of the car and headed home.

On the way back I was moved by another sight in my rearview mirror—my Son, head resting against the glass, continued to scan the sky. He, too, had found wonder in our late-night journey, and in the sacredness of the moment he was connected with something much bigger than himself.

[This article is a shared post originally posted on DonaldSchaffer.com on April 23, 2020]

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