Cenizo Journal Spring 2023 - Page 13

region , over 2,000 stars are
visible to the naked eye .
Growing up as a young girl
in New York City , I could
only typically see 3 or 4
stars at night from our
apartment in The Bronx .
But in the books that I
read , I could see thousands .
I couldn ’ t help but to be
interested in the stars and
the skies . I don ’ t remember
too many of the trips I went
on in school . Sure , we went
to Ellis Island and visited
the Statue of Liberty , but I
The Milky Way over the observatory at the Marathon Motel . Photo Courtesy of Danny Self .
vividly recall my two school
trips to the planetarium . I went once with our elementary school and another time with my parents and siblings . Those trips opened up a world of wonder to me .
For a spell , I imagined myself attending NASA space camp in Florida . I even recall excitedly ordering the brochure for space camp after watching a commercial on Nickelodeon or the like . I just knew that I would be the next Mae Jaemison ! My desire to attend space camp and to become the second African American female to travel into outer space eventually waned , but my interest in the stars and planets remained .
Although I remained curious about the stars and the planets , it seems that after middle school , my interest in space travel died down . I feel like I didn ’ t intentionally look up at the skies for several decades . Sure , I would admire
stars . We may have stayed out there for 30 minutes or three hours , it doesn ’ t really matter . We were enthralled by the view just above our heads . The stars were breathtaking .
For those of you who have not been privy to the dark skies of Far West Texas , it is as if someone took a handful of glitter and tossed it up onto the deep cerulean sky . There are that many stars . There are more than stars to be seen in the sky , but when we were first starting out on our West Texas journey , that was all we could recognize . Thousands of dots . Thousands of points of light , the magnitude of which can be dizzying . Eventually , as our years passed out here , my curiosity about these points of light grew . I wanted to truly understand what I was seeing . I wanted to be able to read the sky . I wanted to know more .
When I mention reading the sky , I don ’ t
the stars when my siblings and I went camping
astrologers ,
in the summers , but my enchantment with the great unknown above my head was replaced by the worries of puberty , college and navigating life as a young adult . That is , until my family and I moved out to Far West Texas .
When my family and I first started traveling out to Far West Texas , My husband and I would stare in amazement at the sheer volume of stars that we were seeing . On our first trip to Marathon , we made sure to climb the stairs to the rooftop deck at Eve ’ s Garden BNB . Wrapped in blankets and filled with joy and wonder , we leaned back and just stared at the
predictions about the future and search the skies for insight on human personalities and traits , but rather how the astronomers , ancients and my ancestors could tell direction and gain valuable information based on where the stars and planets were in the sky . The ancients could tell the seasons based on the stars , they could predict how the growing season would be . Our ancestors knew what to plant and when to plant it based on stories that were passed down to them and the stars in the skies . This is the knowledge I seek .
I wanted to and continue to want to
understand what I am seeing when I look up . Intuitively I know that if I can learn to “ read ” the stars , I will never be directionally lost in this world . I could always follow “ The Drinking Gourd .” Spiritually , I know that if I can take the time to slow my body and my thoughts enough , I can hear that “ still small voice .” I can find direction in my soul . Mentally , I know that I will never know all there is to know about the stars , planets and heavens above . I find peace in that .
The heavens declare the glory of God ; the skies proclaim the work of His hands . Psalm ( 19:1 )
It is for these reasons that although my life is busy and quite often chaotic with young children , I take the precious time to search out the dark skies . I seek out those wiser than I am in this area and ask questions . I sit at the feet of those more knowledgeable . For me , the place I frequent is Marathon Motel and RV park in Marathon , Texas . Sometimes I go with my family . Most times , I don ’ t . I stand and listen to Bill Ramey and Andy Torres tell jokes as they point out stars , planets , constellations and nebulae . I ’ m amazed as they explain distances between space objects that my mind cannot comprehend . I talk to Danny Self and he shares his stories about how his journey with star gazing and astronomy began . I integrate all of these stories and data points within myself and come to a deeper understanding of this thing called life .
So , when I say that in the past month I ’ ve seen four of Jupiter ’ s 80 moons , the rings around Saturn and the Orion Nebula , I mean that I ’ ve traveled across time and space , learned and unlearned , explored internally and externally all without leaving Brewster County , and no , I take none of that for granted . �

Cenizo Spring 2023 13