Starry, Starry Night

Here’s an essay I wrote for a photography class I took about a year ago. The assignment was called, “Unphotographable.” We had to write about a photo we never got to take.

This is a photo I did not take: Starry, Starry Night. I grew up in an apartment building in New Jersey, six miles from New York City and a couple miles from the City of Newark. The night sky was not very inspiring as most of the stars were difficult to see from the lights of the two cities.

In sixth grade my class went to a sleepaway camp way up in the northwest corner of Jersey. It was my first time sleeping somewhere without my parents and the farthest I’d ever been away from my family. I was nervous and unsettled the whole time at camp…until one night when we were told to grab our flashlights because we were going for a walk.

“Twenty voices breaking the silence. I was scared, but curious.”

Our teachers led us through the woods, which was lit only by our flashlights. Twenty beacons in the night. Twenty voices breaking the silence. I was scared, but curious.

We soon emerged from the woods into a grassy clearing. Trees surrounded us on all sides and the jokers in the class started making sounds of ghosts and wild animals. Our teachers then told us to turn off our flashlights and be silent.

A universal exclamation of, “Wow! Look at that!” spread through group. In the pitch black of the night, we had all looked up at the same time to see the most beautiful star-filled sky any of us had ever seen. Contrary to what I would normally see at night, the sky was lit and almost glowing with a multitude of stars and the incredibly shiny moon.

At that point, I thought that this was something that should be captured in a photograph or a painting. Sadly, I had neither a camera nor the skills to create such a masterpiece. Thankfully, the sharp memory of my youth has embedded that scene forever in my mind.

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