We parked in an empty parking lot, pulled on sweatshirts, craned back our necks, and there were the stars.
We found the Big Dipper, then the little unassuming North Star. I found the Little Dipper for the first time. Then we arced to Arcturus and spiked to Spica.
Scott told us about Orion hunting the Pleiades, and Cassiopeia and Andromeda and Perseus and Pegasus. Wes asked questions, and I said "Oh!" from time to time. We all danced back and forth to keep our feet warm.
With each moment we stood there, my fears that a crazy ax-carrying man or a hungry mountain lion would come running out of the dark slowly subsided. There was only us. I breathed in peace with each word we spoke in hushed middle-of-the-night mountain tones.
I looked from Wes' face to Scott's, and they were only muddled black shapes. But even so, the black outlines of the way they were standing gave them away, framed against the black trees.
We were three friends who had gone away from where there were lights and where there were sounds. Now we could feel the wind on our faces, because there was nothing to stop it from touching us. I closed my eyes and turned toward it.