• Cindy Zampa


"The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides."

~Carl Sagan~

As I walked along the quickly darkening pathway to the outhouse, a kangaroo sprang out from behind the trees on my left, and in three short bounds, disappeared amongst the trees on my right. Good thing the outhouse was close, so that when my heart started beating again, I could make it in time.

Sitting on the toilet, re-playing the experience of being ambushed by the kangaroo moments ago, I mindlessly reached for the toilet paper. There wasn’t any paper hanging down to grab hold of, so I reached my hand up into the opaque toilet paper holder to find an edge. I spun the roll half a turn, and a massive tarantula fell onto my foot and scurried under the stall door. Good thing I was sitting on the toilet at the time.

One might think these experiences would turn me off the idea of ever visiting Australia again, but they didn’t. True, I was shaken by these, as well as a few other, alarming encounters with the wildlife there, but I would definitely return for another visit. Although that trek to the outhouse was seared into my memory, aided by the rapid firing of synapses and adrenaline coursing through my body, so were many serene and beautiful experiences. This painting depicts one of those moments, jaw-dropping and heart-stopping for other reasons, and it happened on the same camping trip.

Being away from all sources of ambient light, it was absolutely stunning to see the countless stars in the sky. Not only were there different constellations to behold, but on one crystal-clear evening, the Milky Way, or the edge of our galaxy, was on display. This cosmic portal is a truly humbling, awe-inspiring, and beautiful one to witness.

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