I am fascinated with anything and everything that is up above that I can gaze up into where I feel so smaller than small and humbler than humble in a world so vast and open. The blue skies. The full or crescent-shaped moon. The fluffy clouds. The warm sun. Most of all, the sparkly stars that light up the night sky. I think when we all die that we somehow become shiny stars that sparkle in the dark up in heaven and watch upon our loved ones that are still on earth.
One of my Live List items is to see the stars so up close and personal that I feel like I can touch them. This has been on my Live List item since 2012 when I first created the list. When I shared with the select few that seeing (not just looking or gazing) the stars was at the top of my Live List, people said I would have to go somewhere deserted in oneness with nature. One guy said I would have to go climb up mountains to see the feel the top of the world on the mountain and above me. Another person said I would have to go into the woods or fields. All I knew was that somehow and someway, when the time was right and when the opportunity presented itself as with all my Live List items, I would know and I would fulfill with a special someone. The special someone of who I fulfill my Live List item is almost as important as the Live List item itself.
The opportunity to see my stars was presented to me in March 2018 when my sister and I went to visit Mohonk Mountain House. In front of a cozy, crackling fire with flames that hypnotized me into oblivion, I flipped through a brochure and my eyes immediately widened in shock and glee that an astronomer by the name of Bob Berman was going to be doing a lecture in August called “Night of the Shooting Stars” and we would all go out in the vast open fields to watch the stars, or, if luck would have it, experience meteor showers. August! My birthday month! I nearly fell off the couch rushing to the front desk reception clamoring: “Tell me about this ‘Night of the Shooting Stars’!”
My sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her about Mohonk Mountain House and that all I wanted on the night of August 12, 2018 was to see and night sky full of twinkling stars. She said she would join me and make sure that my birthday wish came true. When we arrived there at the mountain house, we spent the day jumping into and swimming in the lake, bopping to 1980’s music as we paddle boated in the lake with the sun streaming on us scrunched in our bright orange life jackets, and stuffing our faces into a food coma from the most delicious food that you had ever tasted in your life. When night finally fell, I was breathless with excitement! In a standing room only filled to capacity of people, I could barely listen to and process astronomer Bob Berman sharing his personal experiences about meteorites and tours that he guided to see the mystical and magical world up above us. I tried to patiently await him to finish and then when he finally stood up to guide us outside, I squealed to my sister: “This is it! I am going to fulfill my live list! I’m so excited! I’m so excited!”
I was practically hopping out the door, but then stopped dead in my tracks when the cool air swirled around me into pitch black darkness. There were no lights to guide us. I started to feel scared. I grabbed on to my sister’s hand. We marched into the fields not able to see a point of light I was suddenly extremely dependent on my other senses that heightened in functions: the pine scent of the trees, the murmur and mumble of people all around me and the crunch of our footsteps as we braved our way into the darkness, the taste of trepidation that I was going to trip and fall flat on my face, and the feel of the sweaty palm of my sister’s hand that transported me back to when I was a little girl and she held my hand. I wanted to look at my cell phone to turn on the flashlight but Bob Berman shouted over our murmurs and mumbles with: “Absolutely no cell phones. You will miss the magic. Let the lights and your senses guide you.”
Fear fell away when there was a clearing. We all grabbed towels and laid them on the tickling fresh green grass blades. My sister and I lied down side by side. Then, that is when I suddenly saw and experienced the magic and adrenaline coursing through my pumped body as I experienced when fulfilling my live list items. Sparkly jeweled diamond stars blinked and twinkled before my glazed over and child-like eyes in that midnight milky sky. I lifted my hands up, almost feeling like I could touch the stars. I closed my eyes, inhaling the crisp, fresh, and delicious air. I was tiny and small in the unending and limitless skies above me that was so vast, massive, and wide open that it almost felt like I could be swallowed whole by the universe above me. I wanted to take my cell phone out to take a picture to capture the moment, but I did not even bother to because I understood that these Live List items could not be fully captured by the lens on the outside so you can feel everything in unexplainable and inexplicable ways on the inside. I was living out one of my live list items: I was finally seeing the stars with my special someone-my sister.
Less than an hour later, the clouds came in and buckets of rain fell. In the hazy and foggy mist, the rain created an even more ethereal feel and almost like a dream. Like all magical moments and like all my Live List items that are so awe-inspiring, they take a lot of planning and hold much anticipation and then they come and go too fast, leaving you with an aftermath of imprinted memories and nostalgia that you live again in your mind asking yourself: “Did that really happen?” The answer: Yes, it did and you are lucky enough if you get to relive it in your mind and live to tell and share the glory of the story with others.
The most inspirational, humbling, and beautiful moments leave us unable to fully capture them so we can feel them and keep them alive in our mind when we remember them again. What was a moment that you could not really capture with lens but keep deep within you when remembering them again? When could you not even explain the full capacity of the experience because of the feelings and memories involved? What magical moments have you lived again when you remembered them?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,