I thought about my dad a lot this weekend.
My boyfriend and I spent the weekend up north at his family’s cabin in Alpena. It was so beautiful and peaceful. I felt very blessed for such a relaxing opportunity.
My dad always loved the woods and camping. He had always hoped to retire up north in a secluded cabin in the woods.
I went camping with him a lot as a child. Sometimes I would even request to have my dad set up the tent in my grandparents’ backyard so we could go “camping”. I would bring all my Barbies with me and make sure they were comfortable. 😊 And snacks. I always brought snacks.
My dad also had a strong love for astronomy. He had so many astronomy books. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to bring some to school with me when I was in 5th grade to show my class. I think this is what sparked my own interest at such a young age.
Because of my dad's love for astronomy, he always had some sort of neat telescope in his possession. The first time I ever really looked into one was on his balcony at his apartment in Grand Blanc when I was 9 or 10. I saw the moon and all its little craters. I had never seen the moon so close in person.
My dad later got a much bigger telescope with a lens that was about 10 inches in diameter. I always wanted to use it. But for some reason we never really set it up to use it together. Maybe once. That is one thing I wish we had done together before he passed away. We talked about it a lot. And then life keeps happening and things get pushed aside.
The other morning as I was scrolling through Facebook from my bed in Alpena, I saw an article about how the Northern Lights would be visible in Norther Michigan Sunday evening around 11pm. Jared just this weekend set up his own new telescope which we had used at the cabin. I did some research on nearby parks that would be good for stargazing, so around 11:30pm Sunday night we drove out to Rockport State Park. We had hoped to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
As soon as I got out of the car I noticed a hazy trail that stretched across the entire sky from east to west. I thought it was clouds, but Jared informed me that it was the Milky Way. I had never seen the Milky Way so clear before. I couldn't stop staring at it.
Jared set up his telescope on the dusty and rocky land along the coast of Lake Huron as I laid out a blanket. Jared also brought his nice camera to take some photos.
Once the telescope was set up, I looked at the "fog" and saw the millions and millions of tiny little stars that make up the Milky Way. I was in awe.
We looked at more stars across the sky. Usually the brightest ones that twinkled and danced in the lens of our telescope. I remember seeing Saturn with my dad through a telescope at his house in Sterling Heights when I was young and how cool it was. I picked out from the sky what I thought could be a planet and ended up finding Saturn. There's nothing like seeing its rings for the first time in over a decade...I was so excited!
We took a break from the telescope and lied down on the blanket together to admire all that was around us, snuggling to keep warm from the cool summer air.
We saw so many shooting stars that night. So many that I stopped keeping track. The skies were totally clear in every direction. The moon had not yet risen, so there was no glare from that either. Although we stuck around to watch the moon rise around 2:00am. We saw that through the telescope too. Even though it was still behind some trees. 😊
I thought about my dad a lot Sunday night. How he would’ve loved being there with me to see what I was seeing. At the same time though, I felt grateful for this new life God has given me. That He has given me the opportunity to experience all that I have been able to with Jared. And the incredible healing that it has brought into my life.
We didn't end up seeing the Northern Lights that night. We left the park around 2:00am. Apparently they didn't start until 2:30.
Even though we didn't see what we had initially set out to, I ended up experiencing more healing than I set out to. Enjoying the things my dad enjoyed and enjoying them to the fullest. Carrying on his love of the universe and everything that exists outside of our own planet.
That night brought me hope and the reminder that there is more. There is always more. We just need to be deliberate in making time to look for and experience it.