NOTHING REESTABLISHES MY equilibrium like kayaking.
While I enjoy paddling with my friends and family, I am most at peace when I am skimming solo along the edge of the Salish Sea.
It is the calm and the silence I crave.
The wonderful absence of text messages and emails allow my thoughts to flow freely as I breathe in the stillness of the natural surroundings.
No longer is my mind gripped by the troubles of the world.
Instead, my mind shifts to observe the otter and owl, the cedar and salal, the kelp and crab — all woven together in the intricate web of life.
Upon the arrival of winter, kayaking is replaced with night walks. This is when the magic really begins.
Into the dark
There are no street lights where I live, and rarely a car after 8 p.m., so the nightscape is especially dramatic.
It is so spectacular, in fact, that I would feel remiss if I didn’t encourage you to check it out for yourselves during these long nights of December.
Consider going outside in 100 percent, complete silence and looking up at the stars.
Just observe — silently — in a star meditation, of sorts.
For, we always are in the midst of the stars, whether or not we choose to notice or remember.
We are here on this planet — held by gravitational forces, hurling through space and time.
Yet there is no great rushing sound to keep us cognizant of this reality.
Just the twinkle of the distant orbs of light providing navigation points and offering a perspective on how small we are in the endless expanse of the universe.
While humbled in this vastness, star gazing always makes me feel so much more alive and at peace afterwards.
A long-ago world
It reminds me that a long, long time ago, the world was simpler.
There were no buzzing electronics, no electric anything.
The lights at night were the moon, the stars and candles.
The stars stretched bright across the sky, uninterrupted by the trappings of our modern life.
This, in turn, helps me imagine the time when shepherds and kings silently followed a star, knowing that something special lay at the end of their journey.
I can almost feel the wonder that captivated them.
Was the Christmas story real?
Did it really happen?
Not everyone believes it did, and I am not asking you to.
I’m only inviting you to imagine their journey and their joy.
I’m only encouraging you to look up at the sky and ask yourself if you, too, are on a special journey.
And as you look upon the stars in the sky, more than 2000 years later, try sensing where your own journey might lead you.
The universe is a giant and mysterious place.
Feel the silence and wonder:
• What precious new beginning are you seeking this night?
• What have the angels told you?
• What is the call of your star?
Let these questions open you, embrace you and fill you with peace.
And then, dear ones, take that first step on your new and uncertain journey.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Kate Lore is a minister at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend. Her email is [email protected].