The vast and deep expanse of the sky has always been a source of wonder for me. I have the good fortune of living in a place that is still rural enough so that I can see the Milky Way, and many many stars simply by stepping outside into the night. Almost without fail, I find that gazing into the heavens awakens within me the grand presence of the sacred. What I have seen with simply my eyes is enough to inspire this blog, but what has been seen by the collective eye that we call the Hubble Space Telescope does more. I've included a photo that is called the Hubble Extreme Deep Field which shows a tiny portion of the sky, and yet within it there are over 5500 galaxies. Almost every speck of light in the photo is a galaxy and the average galaxy contains between 200 and 400 billion stars.
When you live as rural as we do, surrounded on all sides by miles of forest and fields, you gain an appreciation for nature that I don't think I ever experienced when I lived in a city. I lived in Colorado Springs, a place which values it's natural spaces and proximity to fantastic recreational areas; it was even voted the fittest small city in the country. However, a lot of my time of living there involved driving back and forth to work through row after row of houses, watching entire neighborhoods and strip malls appear within weeks. I didn't feel the same closeness to nature I do now because it was something I drove to.