Starry Night

There was no moon, no street lights, not even a yard light. That far out in the country there wasn’t even the headlight of a car. By 8:00 no one traveled. All were safe in their homes, except me. The night was so dark I couldn’t even see my feet.

I lived in the San Juan Mountains in a small town named Pagosa Springs. But I went to Ft. Lewis College sixty miles away. Usually I drove to and from school, but our car died. No resurrection. No way to fix the beast. It sat dead in our driveway.

I was in my thirties, a late bloomer as far as college students went. I was doing so well I didn’t want to stop. It was approaching finals, and I was making straight A’s. Not to take the finals was to fail the classes, which I found unacceptable.. So I hitchhiked to and from school to finish out the semester (and, as it turned out later, to start the next semester).

That night after working until 8:00 at the library and got a ride right away. It took me as far as Turkey Creek, still twenty miles from my home.

“Will you be all right?” the driver asked.

“Sure I will,” I said, my voice braver than my heart.

After he left, I noticed the darkness, and the inability to see my feet. I was scared. What was I to do? Who else would be out this late at night in this remote of a place? I prayed. That’s what I do when I’m scared.

Not long later a truck pulled up, but as they opened the door and the interior lights came on, I noticed there were four young men in the front seat. A soda can tumbled out of the cab, and I backed up. It isn’t a beer can, I tried to tell myself, but it made no difference. I was not going to ride in the front seat filled with young men.

“I changed my mind,” I said in my cheeriest voice. “I have a friend who lives not far…”

When the truck left, I figured my last ride had just topped the hill. And this time I prayed in earnest.

I kept walking and praying, hoping I wouldn’t walk off the road, not sure if the roadside was an ankle breaker or just a slope. “What am I to do, God?”

He said, “Look up!” Now, this wasn’t an audible voice. I’m not the kind to go around hearing things, but I had no doubt this was from God, so I looked up.

I’d never seen a totally black night sky before. A long time ago, before most people moved to cities, people knew about totally black night skies. That’s why, at Christmas, the strings of lights are in color. I was completely amazed. I saw red stars, green stars, blue stars, yellow stars, white stars. How beautiful!

Then God said, “If I can make all of this, I can protect you.”

A few minutes later, around 9:00, a couple of women who had been shopping in the larger town, where the college was., pulled their car up beside me and told me to get in. They lived in Pagosa Springs too, and knew my address.

They took me right to my door.