I'm standing in the yard of Carrie's house in Sisters. She and Kari are asleep inside - still finishing the adventures of their dream lives. An afghan shawls my flannel pajamas. Bare feet delight in the carpeting of Ponderosa Pine needles. At once supple silk and brittle glass, the needles provide both the smooth comfort of earthy slippers and the heady incense of purifying pine.
The clock by my bed announced morning. The deep dark air and the sky above both shout night.
My eyes are drawn to Orion, one of two constellations I know for sure - the other being the Big Dipper, which I find easily on the opposite side of the sky. Something about Orion brings my attention back to him. The four corner stars are there. Nothing unusual about that. The three stars cinching the middle in a perfect belt hold no surprises. It's the sword hanging from the belt that's unusual. Unusual because it's really rare to see it so clearly. Even more unusual are the impossible numbers of stars in the background.
How is it possible for such darkness to exist around me when there is so much light above?
I'm reminded of childhood nights in Idaho. So many stars crowding the darkness that the summer-clear skies seemed cloudy. I remember stretching some aching part of myself upward, longing to leave the heaviness holding me to earth and to join the brilliance and spaciousness above.
At this moment, the heaviness of fear and anxiety that has been my constant companion since those long ago summer nights seems to be gone. Gone along with the Mommy voice that I've released. Gone along with the hope that the voice might ever change. Gone along with the belief that I am not enough.
The space left behind seems impossibly infinite within the confines of my body. I'm not entirely comfortable with it and turn my attention inward. Nothing there. Empty. Ready to be filled. Or not. Not longing or seeking or reaching. Just empty. Not cold. Not hot. Not wet. Not dry. Not good. Not bad. Empty.
Like the sky over me. The sky that looks empty during the day, and yet is so lush with light and possibilities on this night. It doesn't decide to fill itself when the sun goes down. The stars are just there. Providing light in the emptiness.
The cold wicking up through my bare feet brings my attention back to the sky. Just in time to see a shooting star throw itself earthward. In that moment the space inside joins the larger space above me and for a brief crystalline instant, they are the same.
Photo from Flickr