One night last week I carried our dog Lady out for a walk.
It was a beautiful night, a sky filled with stars.
After getting back inside the house, I told Pam, “Come outside. Let’s look at the stars.”
We shouted downstairs for Erin to come with us.
We decided to get a quilt, spread it out in the back of my pickup, lay on our backs and do a little stargazing.
We tried to count them. We saw the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper.
Then suddenly we saw a shooting star.
And mixed in with all the stars was an occasional airplane.
At times, outside at our house on Cedar Hills, we can look up into the night sky and see five or six planes, some closer than others, and all waiting to land at Memphis International Airport.
I knew you could ask Siri a lot of things and get accurate answers, but a few weeks ago, on our way home from a soccer game in Horn Lake, I found out you could ask Siri, “What planes are overhead?”
Laying in the back of my pickup last week, Pam told Erin to ask Siri that same question again.
Both times we found that the planes were mostly FedEx. But of course there were passenger flights, too, including Southwest and others this time around.
We watched closely as we could see planes about every five minutes on the same route. It was our best views, as these planes were lower in the sky, lights flashing and cockpits visible.
It was really neat, the planes in the midst of stars on a beautiful night. I immediately thought about what we’re missing these days.
Growing up, I spent many, many nights sleeping under the stars.
On summer afternoons, when looking for something to do, my friends and I would often say, “Let’s go camping.”
We’d grab the tent, some supplies, some food, pack it all on the backs of our motorcycles (dirt/street bikes) and head for the hills.
We camped about everywhere in the woods within a 10-mile radius of my house. But one of our favorite spots was atop one of the nearby mountains. The view was spectacular. On a clear night, it was like we could see forever. The full moon, all the stars – wow, there was nothing like it.
But somehow, as a father, I’ve slipped. I haven’t encouraged my children to experience what I experienced when it comes to enjoying the true outdoors.
Too, too much in today’s world we’re watching TV or texting or Tweeting or on Facebook or playing computer games.
And we’re missing out – big-time.
I’ve never liked to make resolutions. I have a tendency to not keep them.
But I truly hope I can get that tent from upstairs in the shed or perhaps buy a new one and go camping at least once this spring, summer or fall.
Of course, there are other ways to enjoy the great outdoors – like hiking, horseback riding, rides on all-terrain vehicles, fishing, boating and the list goes on and on. Or just try some stargazing.