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Standing Still

Beauty in the night sky

By Kevin McLaughlinPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Top Story - May 2024
Western Australian night sky

There are very few moments in life where time truly stands still. When your breath is taken from your chest and your body hangs weightless in that moment. Just long enough for it to stay with you from that day onwards. Deep in the red sands of the Australian Outback, I found that moment and clung to it forever.

Driving across Western Australia on the slow march from the blue coastal waters near Perth to the beautifully unique Kimberley, more than 2,500 kilometers north of the city, there is little to do but drive. The endless ribbon of asphalt stretches ahead, cutting through the heart of the Outback. To each side of the road lies endless expanses of ochre sands, dotted with grasses and shrubs in bloom with wildflowers. Kilometer after kilometer might go by, and you’ll not see another living soul.

However, when the day’s driving is finally done, you’ve pitched your tent and washed the sweat from your brow, you can finally rest. With a refreshing drink and a hearty meal, you sit and watch the horizon opposite the setting sun. As the searing heat of the day gives way to the cool embrace of night, watch the sky transform. The brilliant oranges and pinks of sunset fade to indigo, and then to the deepest, velvety black. That’s where you’ll see them first. Watch them now, appearing like small candles all across the sky. Their light is weak compared to the bright city lights and the noise of cars and commotion, but out here, in the silence of the true night, they can truly shine.

Tell me, can you see the picture they paint? The vibrant tapestry they weave onto the night sky? How long has it been since you first noticed the night open up to you? One hour? Two? The constellations, undimmed, reveal themselves in their full glory. The Milky Way stretches overhead, a luminous river of stars, each point of light so distant that it’s beyond comprehension. Shooting stars occasionally streak across the sky, or perhaps a satellite, but how are you to know which is which from where you sit?

Pilbara region Western Australia

Imagine the face of the city boy, who grew up with only the moon in the sky at night, no stars. No reason to look up, no beauty to look for in the darkness above him. In that moment, out here in what many would call the middle of nowhere, when the night sky shows its colors to the world below, that is where I found time to stand still. Where I found the weight of the world fall away like leaves turned brown in autumn, leaving me stripped bare of worry, fear, and doubt.

It was there, with your hand in mine, that we stood and wasted a brief spell of eternity together, you and I. Just for a moment, a moment that lasts a lifetime. Always will I remember the beauty of that moment and the feel of your hand in mine, knowing that in the vastness of it all, I am loved and that is more than enough.

Kimberley region Western Australia

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About the Creator

Kevin McLaughlin

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Comments (5)

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Sweileh 88829 days ago

    Interesting and delicious content, keep giving more

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    Beautiful story. I dream of seeing the Outback, of visiting friends in New South Wales, of seeing such beauty beneath that blanket of shimmering stars, just my husband and me, and maybe a few friends or the ghosts of friends. Congratulations on Top Story, and on having had such a lovely experience! 🥳

  • Sonia Heidi Unruhabout a month ago

    Gorgeous, evocative writing.

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    Beautiful.

Kevin McLaughlinWritten by Kevin McLaughlin

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