“No importa el lugar y la epoca, el ser humano ha tenido dos basicos entretenimientos en las largas noches: observar el firmamento estrellado y contemplar el fuego. Dos simples ocupaciones que han proporcionado horas de distracion, despertando la imaginacion y provocado el misticismo durante milenios.”
Mi traduccion es:
“Regardless of the location or historical epoch, two basic means of entertainment have defined what it means to be human: to observe the vast expanse of the heavenly stars, and to contemplate fire. These two simple activities can provide hours of distraction, awakening the imagination and stimulating thought on the the mysteries of the ages.”
It is not difficult or expensive to discover the veracity of these observations. At least as long as you don’t take along needless and distracting electronic devices, like Gameboys, music players, or (worse yet) electricity and television / portable DVD players. Just go camping, and stay up (preferably with small children around) after it gets dark.
This is the basic magic of a camping trip: a temporary (and invigorating) escape from the influence of technology, and the invitation to connect with basic instincts that transcend time, place, age, ethnicity, gender, language or ability. Who cannot go camping and be around a campfire, especially at night, and not be fascinated by the brilliant diversity and energetic light of the living flame? Whether young or old, the campfire draws us to it and around it. We talk, we may sing, we listen, we watch: we exist and we experience. Life in the twenty-first century has far too few moments such as these, for many of us caught in a rat-race we did not create yet seem incapable or unwilling to entirely escape.
Camping at night is a free retreat and invitation to indulge in a favorite pastime of the ages, which we in our electricity and technology dominated homes and cultures seem to have forgotten: Lifting our eyes up to the heavens, from whence cometh our help, and in which we can directly experience both the grandeur and majesty which is our galactic universe.
It is not expensive. It is not complicated. The intensity of the experience can be significantly enhanced with distance from polluting city lights. The technology of the city both pollutes and confuses, it distracts and it disorients. Distance from polluting light in the night is needed.
So that one can merely be, can experience, can live: and can share such simple pleasures together.
I think this may be sounding a bit like Thoreau (except maybe the “together” part.) Perhaps I will read “Walden” this summer on our upcoming camping trip. I am sure HDT’s ideas would help me further appreciate both the distractions which technologies can invite, as well as the simple pleasures of a campfire and the starry heavens above.
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