By Tony Rehagen
Leave the street lights behind. Stow your glowing phone. Step onto the sand and into the dark embrace of a Jekyll Island night. The sea before you is a black void, whispering as it laps gently onto the cool and darkened beach, protected from glare by the island’s exacting lighting ordinance. Now look up. At first, only the brightest stars are visible. But as your eyes adjust, there appear to be more stars than sky. Out of an overhead ocean you recognize the formations of the Big and Little Dippers. In the cooler fall and winter, with less humidity and haze, you can clearly spot the tri-star belt of Orion and the enjoined hands of the Gemini twins. You can connect the dots to conform to your imagination or zoom out, behold the Milky Way—a perspective lost to most urban-dwelling Americans—and contemplate your place in the galaxy.