“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I spent the fourth of July weekend on Lake Shasta with family this year. We found an isolated cove with a breathtaking view of granite cliffs nestled amongst pines. The natural beauty was intoxicating. The thing that really got me, though, was the sky.
By day, it seemed to stretch on forever, a canopy of violet blue stretched across an infinity frame. By dusk, a soft pink backdrop for bats diving down close to where we lay on the top of the houseboat watching Mother Nature’s previews. The main attraction, though, came at night.
Do you have any idea what goes on in a wide open sky sheltered from city light? It had been years since I’d seen it. Living in LA for 30 years near the beach, we hardly ever saw stars. The city lights and coastal fog swallowed them up. I had grown up with these stars, but I had forgotten their power.
We sat and waited, watching for the first star while playing marshmallow Olympics. (The fish weren’t biting, so we had to find other uses for our mini-friends.) As each star dropped into place, it looked unique, like it had its own purpose on that tapestry. Eventually, the sky was covered. As we all watched the sky from our sleeping bag lookouts on top of the boat, my husband had an idea.
Husband: Hey! I’ll go get the IPAD and we can look at the galaxies through that app.
Me: Oh. Hmmmm. Okay. (Technology can’t make this better, I thought. Why does he want to ruin this with technology?)
Cousins: Oh. What? (On the fence. Not sure about what he’s talking about.)
Me: Are you going to get it?
Husband: No. Not enough enthusiasm to go down the ladder.
Me: (Not wanting to break his techno-spirit) Oh, come on. It’ll be cool.
All of us: DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!
Husband: Okay. If you really want me to.
He pads down the treacherous houseboat ladder and returns armed with the IPAD telescope. Holding the IPAD up to the sky we could not only see the names of all the stars, we could see the overlays of zodiac images. It was fascinating on so many levels. We loved it. It added a whole new layer to what we were seeing. After everybody had a chance to play with it, we put it away and stared back at sky original.
As each person faded off one by one, faint snoring sounds filling the night air, I laid there wide awake. How could there be so much up in that sky? One after another satellite passed by. I had no idea how many were up there. Shooting star after shooting star streaked the black. Most amazing to me was how different the night sky was from the day. How unique. And how so many layers performed in a night time drama I’ll never forget.
And while you ask yourself “What does this have to do with writing?,” I’ll tell you what I got from the whole thing. Each artist, each creator, shines uniquely like those individual stars. They have a unique body of work inside them that they have been sent here to do, and though many factors may pull them away from it, if they listen to their intuition, they will find their True North. The compilation of those works create life’s night sky, so captivating it can keep the world up at night if it looks closely.