Subscribe Now

You can feel it in the summer air. “That urge to grab a map and yell, ROAD TRIP! Long trip or short, many times it is the unplanned that makes the excursion memorable. This is so true in Massachusetts, where driving anyplace often involves getting lost, giving up, and going home frustrated.

I recently went to meet some people at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport for some stargazing. It had been cloudy all day but nobody had contacted me to cancel. So off I went, not quite sure of the way.

As a dark and winding Route 127 grew more mysterious, my thoughts varied on that cosmic question, “How lost am I?” As soon as I had decided that I was thoroughly lost, clueless, and almost out of gas, I nearly hit a small sign that read “State Park.” As the panic dissipated it occurred to me that the sky was suddenly clear. This place was just beyond the clouds’ reach!

Big, bright, and bold in the crisp night air, gigantic constellations looked down on me like impatient adults waiting for their child. The twinkling Pleiades pointed to the angry red eye of Taurus, whose back was to Orion with his three-starred belt. Turning around, I saw the Big Dipper, which seemed to be taunting the others. Was this a giant cosmic game of Red Rover?

These constellations so clear made me feel like an ancient mariner navigating the seas by their guidance. Think of all the people who’ve ever looked up at them. Think of all the stories they’ve inspired. Under this outrageous night sky at this remote little point, it felt as if these constellations were spending private time with me.

Sometimes getting lost is the whole point of the trip.