seeing stars

I only have myself to blame for my endlessly running mind.

I can’t remember how long we stood there in the dying grass under the pulsing sky, feeling the breeze brush our noses as the snuffling noises of Rory’s two dogs filled our ears.

It seemed to be a good night for wishes, because Rory must have spotted at least five different shooting stars. It’s nice to know that the universe might hear our desire for response once in a while.

We saw satellites, too. They reminded me of the water bugs that skim the surfaces of ponds, balancing precariously on nothing but tension between water molecules. 

The next night provided even more of an opportunity for overthinking, because the air was silent to the point where I thought I could hear my knees shivering. We dragged ourselves out onto the lake near the house in single-person kayaks. The looming reeds bit and shoved, fighting back as I struggled through the mud. Part of me wanted to drop the paddle then and there itself.

But then I blinked, and my battle with the reeds was over. I drifted past smaller shrubs and delicate floating plants, absentmindedly letting the fingertips of one hand trail through the surprisingly warm water. The winds began to cooperate and push me out further towards the middle of the lake. I leaned back in the kayak, surveying the landscape above and behind me.

Over the rear end of the kayak, I saw two skies.

The constellations glinted up above the mountains and down in the still water as the wind slipped away and allowed the waves to settle. The longer I stared, the more stars came out of hiding. My legs were shaking from the cold and my arms ached from the paddling but I became lost in thought and comfort and freedom and fear, because the sky had become three-dimensional and the incomprehensible number of stars overwhelmed my senses.

I knew that if I lifted my head to the unusually bright crescent moon, my vision would reset. I would be back where I could process the stars, back where the Milky Way’s arms in the distance were faint once more. The clouds would become just that once more, just clouds and not the billions and trillions of tiny, huge stars occupying a place so foreign to my mind. I would forget the comparisons between myself and the world. The light would break the spell.

But I remained where I was, smiling to myself as Rory pointed out the constellations we had made up ourselves the previous night. The stars continued to twinkle and my vision went blurry and every time I blinked some stars would disappear and others would appear and it was as if I could no longer trust my eyes. I could only trust the universe to keep the stars alive– those incredible masses up above that both reassure and completely confuse me of my purpose.

It was the middle of the night by the time we came back to the house.

Sometimes it’s okay to release thoughts into a sky that may or may not be listening.

Went on a road trip to Truckee, CA last weekend. More to come soon. Probably.


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