2007-08-21 - 2:13 p.m.

We camped at a small farm in Vermont. Can I really come up with an adequate description of what it was like to finally see the Milky Way on a perfectly clear night that happened to be during the heaviest night of the Perseids shower? I mean, so far the most accurate thing I can think of is the fact that it's like being inside a planetarium. Then again, that's not so bad. No matter how big the planetarium, you can tell the domed ceiling is close to you. And when I saw that many stars above me, it felt that close.

In the city, the sparseness of stars makes the universe seem a lot more empty and lonely. Plus, in stories where characters look up at the stars they tend to get introspective and talk about how tiny they feel in the universe. But when I saw the Milky Way swathed against the night sky, all I could think was "Oh shit, I am staring at the arm of my spiral galaxy." And that is a pretty empowering feeling. I didn't feel lonely at all while looking at it. I started thinking that maybe I really should become a beekeeper. Then I could see this every night and maybe I'd never feel lonely again.

I also thought of that story about the weaver maiden and the herdsman who are separated by the Milky Way and brought together once a year by a bridge of sympathetic magpies. I thought about how the "River of Heaven" is something meant to make the two lovers feel lonely and bereft when it only inspired the opposite feelings in me. And right now I feel like this is an excerpt from the middle of a personal essay for a college admissions application.

In addition, I don't think I can ever eat a Milky Way candy bar ever again.

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