No, they’re not in jail. It’s the loft at Walden. The boys love it when I shut off all the lights and get the candles of the chandelier going. It’s amazing how bright it seems with 6 candles burning in a small cabin miles from any street lights or city light pollution.
Every summer at the cabin I have to spend at least one evening on my back on the dew-soaked lawn, staring out at the stars. Even emerging from a candle-lit cabin, it takes about ten minutes for the eyes to adjust to the dark. I’m not there so much for the finer detail, but the macro feeling. Sure, you can see Andromeda and most of the Messier Objects and faint nebulae, but what I love is the feeling of vertigo that I can induce by contemplating the ribbon of the Milky Way that stretches across the sky from north to south. Our puny solar system is out on one spiral arm of a galaxy that is spinning around a huge blob of billions of stars burning at the middle. So, lying on my back on the hillside at Hartsville, next to Walden Cabin lit and glowing warmly by six little flames, I feel dizzy like I’m staring at the hub of a ferris wheel as I swing around going backwards at the Ex. Billions of huge fires in the sky merged to a faint milky white corridor of light against the black forever. It’s freakin’ awesome.
When the cold and dampness finally get to me and I head back inside, I appreciate the little candles and the comfortable simplicity of my loft bed flannel ever more, especially if I’m sharing the space with my two little stars.
I’m really, really small. And remembering this, experiencing it, makes me feel dizzy, giddy, and free.