Sequoia Splendor: A Dark Sky Celebration

Commune with far-off stars and the big trees at the very same time.

WHAT IS THE STILLEST SEASON? There isn't too much back-and-forth-ing to do over that particular question, for wintertime has long held a reputation for landing on the lower-key, embrace-the-quiet side of things. Perhaps it is the busyness of the holidays that makes us long for a more chillaxed January and February, or the near-silence of snow falling, but the coldest season of the year oftentimes seems to operate at a reflective, think-deeper state. This isn't always the case with summer, which we wish was about playing in sprinklers and napping in hammocks (but often times feels like a hurried slide into fall). There is a gentle route, though, to finding the quiet spirit of wintertime right in the center of summer, and even though there will not be snow on the ground, what you'll be gazing at will be quite chilly, indeed. It's the...

DARK SKY FESTIVAL... in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and it will turn its gaze reverently upward, to the cosmos, from Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 23. The fourth annual fest reminds us of the critters who thrive by night (hello, bats) and how clearly we can admire far-off planets and stars when we're in a low-lit (or no-lit) situation. A host of happenings revolving around telescope enjoyment, awesome astronomy, the national parks, and more are on the after-sundown docket. But don't pile up the must-dos too high; rather, take the quiet joy that comes more easily to us in the winter, and apply it to a summer getaway that's built on the very ancient and very meditative experience of savoring the night sky without illumination impacting our view. If summer's gotten too full of the hubbub for you, here's a weekend that's all about wonder, some silence, and connecting with the wider universe from where we stand on this planet.

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