Stargazer Experiences 'Autistic Glimmer' in Fernwood State Forest

A person with autism experienced an "autistic glimmer" while stargazing at Fernwood State Forest, triggered by barred owls' calls and celestial alignment. This moment led to introspection and a realization about the nature of sin and morality.

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Stargazer Experiences 'Autistic Glimmer' in Fernwood State Forest

Stargazer Experiences 'Autistic Glimmer' in Fernwood State Forest

On May 14, 2024, a person visiting Fernwood State Forest experienced a profound moment of happiness and reflection triggered by an 'autistic glimmer' while stargazing and listening to the haunting calls of barred owls. The individual, who drove to the forest hoping to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis, instead found themselves captivated by the hooting of the owls and the perfect alignment of celestial bodies overhead.

Why this matters: This story highlights the importance of understanding and appreciating the unique experiences of individuals with autism, and how these experiences can lead to profound insights and reflections. By sharing this story, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society that values the contributions of all individuals, regardless of their neurological differences.

The barred owls' distinctive calls, which sounded like "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?", brought back memories of the person's teenage years and created a sense of both unease and wonder. Using their phone to identify the constellations, the stargazer spotted Polaris, Castor, and Pollux forming a straight line with the moon. This celestial alignment, combined with the sensory experience of the owls' calls, triggered what the individual described as an 'autistic glimmer' - a moment of intense delight and heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli.

The experience prompted the person to reflect on their past as a lonely, homeschooled teenager with undiagnosed autism, recalling the fear and paranoia they felt about committing sins such as reading horoscopes or saying certain words. As a 39-year-old, the individual found themselves whispering "Gemini, Gemini, Gemini," half worried and half thrilled that it might be a sin.

This moment of introspection led the stargazer to a realization about the nature of sin and morality. They concluded that true sins involve hurting others, oneself, animals, or nature without good cause, or defacing beauty out of spite. The individual recognized that words, stargazing, wonder, and awe are not inherently sinful, stating, "If God is a god of justice, then things that hurt no one are not sins."

The stargazer's experience highlights the often-overlooked aspect of autism known as 'autistic glimmer,' which involves heightened sensitivity and the ability to experience sublime delight when the sensory stimuli are just right. As the individual noted, "I've seen very little about the opposite: we are so sensitive that when the stimuli are just right, we thrill with the most sublime delight."

The person who shared this profound experience is Mary Pezzulo, an author known for her works "Meditations on the Way of the Cross," "The Sorrows and Joys of Mary," and "Stumbling into Grace: How We..." Her stargazing moment at Fernwood State Forest on May 14, 2024, not only provided a glimpse into the unique sensory experiences of individuals with autism but also sparked a thought-provoking reflection on the nature of sin and morality.

Key Takeaways

  • A person with autism experienced an "autistic glimmer" while stargazing and listening to barred owls.
  • The experience triggered a profound moment of happiness and reflection on morality and sin.
  • The individual realized that true sins involve hurting others or nature, not words or wonder.
  • "Autistic glimmer" involves heightened sensitivity and delight when sensory stimuli are just right.
  • The experience highlights the importance of understanding and appreciating autistic experiences.