We drove into the night as specks of snow, as small as fruit flies, swirled in our headlights. We sped down the highway and over several country roads before finally turning down a dirt path leading into the desert. Away from the noise, people, and lights of the city we could see the stars unfettered by light pollution and smog. We parked and left the warm bubble of our car for the mysterious darkness. Our boots crunched in the snow as our gaze focused heavenward.
Thousands of winking points of light slowly rotated above us. I had never been able to see the movement in the sky in the Valley. I didn’t know there could be so many stars. We picked out the constellations we knew and searched for meteors while pointing out our neighboring planets. My face and fingers froze as I lay on the hood of the car, taking it all in. There was so sound in the desert, no wind, and seemingly no air despite the breath frosting our of our mouths and noses in great white guts. I felt lucky, in the inky darkness, because there was no moon. The stars provided more light than I thought possible.
We stayed in the deep frozen stillness of the high deserts, home of wild ponies and windswept manzanita, until the clouds rolled in and the lights of the city below beckoned us home.