The past few days I’ve been out of town for a family reunion, my first time attending since it was affectionately called the Pig Roast. At first, I’ll admit, I wasn’t super thrilled. It was to be held at my Grandmother’s childhood home (now owned by my two aunts), in the middle of nowhere New York. Well water, bugs galore, and facing large crowds of people I haven’t seen since I was a child, not my idea of a party.
But I have to say, I had a wonderful weekend and a truly awesome experience. And what, you might ask, made it such a great time? Taking a break for this computer I’m currently sitting in front of. The farm (that’s what my family calls the house) is nestled in the sleepy mountains of Olean, New York, a small town on the west end of the state. Cell reception at the farm is laughable at best and while there is wifi, I seemed to have left my phone in the car pretty much everyday.
Without those distractions, the things we hardly seem to live without these days, the world opened up in front of me. I could hear the silence of the world, deep and peaceful. I could see the beauty all around, from giant rocks that have been carved by the weather into ancient shapes, to the misty grey fog rolling off the mountain tops, and to the calm bubbling of the creek I use to play in when I was younger. The world became a different place.
But the one thing that will stick with me for the rest of my life was the night sky. Wrapped up in blankets and a warm fire crackling at my feet, the sky above me came to life as the sun set, a whole new universe coming to life as the other went to rest. Thousands upon thousands of stars glittering in the vast sky. Every now and then I would see a shooting star dart across my vision, burning bright and dying out in a flame of glory. I even had the chance to see the Milky Way, cloudy grey sections of the sky filled with so many stars, it was breathtaking.
Another thing that I will remember forever is, seeing my family. There were four generations of my family all gathered in the same place. Sure I wasn’t really sure who everyone was but they are still family. And if you take the time to look you could see the resemblance etched in all of our faces. Four generations all packed together in a house that was built in 1919 and saw my Grandmother and her sisters grow to adulthood, now that is incredible.
To be surrounded by so much history, to be swallowed up by so many stars, it reminds you how beautiful life is, how small we are, and how connected we are to each other and nature.
Not to mention, being able to pull away from the screens of technology and experience nature in it’s raw form has been the most relaxing, peaceful, and recharging thing I have ever done in my life.
So the point of all this is to encourage you to step away from your phones, tablets, and computers and just look at the world around you. See the beauty that surrounds us every day. Get in touch with your roots and find peace in the greatest gift we have, the love of family and the every place we call home, Earth.