This piece was written while enjoying a wonderful meal at Taverna Del Lago in San Cipriano. As the flow of food passing by ignited my senses I decided to get my notebook out and describe the journey to and from the hotel. What started out as simply a description, it soon became a wider entry, briefly touching on the insignificance of one planet, environmental causes and the feeling of wonder from the simple act of looking up.
It isn’t until you look up on a clear and frost-ridden night that you realise the sky is littered with an inexplicably large number of white, twinkling dots, perforating the impenetrable darkness like looking through your shirt at the intense midday Mediterranean sun.
Until you stop your intended motion and break your train of thought, the lightness that peeks out from the black heart of the atmosphere above remains mysteriously out of sight, hiding from view and waiting for the right moment to reveal itself. And when it does you realise just how much life there is, consuming the dark matter that engulfs our very universe and adding flare to the once mundane.
The twinkling of the Heavenly bodies, almost cheekily winking directly at you, move slowly across the vast expanse of the night sky, giving evidence, if there ever needed any, of the pace of the universe and the outer beyond. The synchronisation of movement putting even the finest Swiss watch-maker to shame.
The only crime to ascend the wondrous beauty of the upwards view is the scowling light from neighbouring communities, inhabited by those who lack respect for all that is incredibly magnificent about the joy of tilting ones neck back and opening one’s eyes to their widest. The view received, to put it at its bluntest, is spectacular. The criminals, I dare say, would rather enjoy the view of their television set.
As the Heavens move across the vacant void once filled with their own kind, made way for the ever relentless cycle of life, one is reminded just how insignificant we all are. At the most ludicrous of exaggerations, we are simply the merest and most tiniest of specks, teetering on the edge of all that is known as life. The impression, as given by the expanse of space that we alone inhabit, is one of very small. Almost minute, a skeptic might say.
The impact of us humans on the wider universe is simply unfathomable. To even suggest that what we do on a day-to-day basis affects the motion of the greater regions is, to be curtly blunt again, uneducated.
Grant you I will that each and every action of all us humans has, and I hope will continue to have an impact on what we call Planet Earth. But to consider life you must surely consider all life, known and unknown. After all, we don’t know of all life on the very planet we inhabit, and I dare say we never will. Such is the cycle, never decreasing, never standing still.
All around me are gracious and polite people, busy eating the delights this fine restaurant has to offer and enjoying the pleasurable company of one another. They are divulging snapshots of their own lives through the flowing conversation, listening carefully and speaking wisely.
The waiters buzz around the tables, forever attempting to keep pace with the orders and kitchen, but knowing only too well their attempts will ultimately be in vain. The pizza oven is stoked until it rages with wild fury, albeit briefly before settling down into a comforting and warming glow that weaves its way around the room, individually wrapping each of us in a satisfying home-like warmth.
Each of these guests will, at some point this bitingly cold night, have to venture outside into the unprotected wilderness. A place where the cold penetrates the bones, taking grip on the extremities and not releasing until once again it is shut out.
But the one joy, the one consolation of having to endure the bitterness of the night air, is the view over the lake, the shining lights from thousands of years ago burning their way into the water and reflecting the tranquil and soft tones of peaceful life back to anyone who dares to look and listen.
The next time you’re away from the city, away from light and away from noise, in a place of peace and under a clear night sky, take a moment to stop what you’re doing. Take a few brief seconds of your life and stand still. Putting your hands in your pockets for warmth empty your mind and open your heart. Look up at the sky and widen your eyes, as wide as they will go. Take in all that you see, every star and every planet. Every movement and every moment.
Cherish the memory for as long as you live, and the memory will continue to cherish you.