I stood there in the dark.
I had been waiting for the right time. I had kept up with the reports of a possible meteor shower and really wanted to witness the event. If it happened. The warning was that it was an all or nothing event. There would either be multitudes or nothing. The thing here, this would be an event that I could at least maybe see. Every other celestial event that has occurred in recent past I was prevented from seeing due to inclement weather. But last night, was clear. So I impatiently waited for the sun to set and dark to take over.
My son even became intrigued and walked down to the one area that was closest with the most clear viewing area. My yard is full of trees front and back with only a sliver of open sky. The only open spot has the security light meaning all you see is that light. Down at my parents though, there is a wider area in which to star gaze. I didn’t realize he had gone until he returned. He told me that he had lain on his back so long that when he stood he startled a deer that had wandered up. It also took him a few moments to adjust to the light in this room. All he had seen though was satellites. As he wandered away I looked up the information on when to look for the meteors. One in the morning.
Do I wait hoping it was an amazing event, or just call it a night. Here is where the not working plays in my favor. I don’t have to get up early and I don’t have to be alert and fully functional. If I stayed up and worse came to worse, I could take a nap. I stayed up, watching reruns of an old sitcom while I waited.
Finally as the hour passed eleven thirty I grabbed a small flashlight and began to walk across the yards. My dogs were inside so they would not bark their displeasure. I could have walked in the dark, but the thought of stepping on any reptiles prevented that. The light though was low level and its circle small, just enough to light my steps. As I moved into the near center of the clearing I turned off the flashlight, looked up and waited.
Standing in the dark is actually an amazing experience. I could hear the sounds of the bullfrog singing down at the small pond while night birds conversed. All around me lightening bugs, aka fireflies, danced their own ballet among the trees and across the sky. A thin layer of clouds teased me as the night breeze drifted past. I tried to ignore the constant attack from mosquito army as I watched the bats flying across the sky. I could hear music coming from one of the neighboring apartments though it wasn’t loud enough to be an annoyance. Still, I waited and watched.A nearby air conditioner kicked on unexpectedly, momentarily startling me. Occasionally I would hear the sounds of nature, a falling branch, a woodland critter passing not far away. Each having me turning, trying to see through the darkness. Across the woods and on the main roadway I could hear a vehicle pass, at the late hour the sound was quiet and responsible. Not the sounds of those attempting to prove their machines prowess.
As I stood there waiting, emotions and thoughts passing as the night breeze. Gently and soothing, even in the longing that accompanied the peace found in the dark. Wishing for company to enjoy the moment. Conversations muted or not at all, simply being in the experience. Wishing and dreaming of one who understands, accepts and encourages the whole of who I am. Accepting that at the moment, standing in the dark of the night, waiting for what may or may not happen celestially, I am still at peace.
As I watched the stars and the satellites, I felt content. As I watched the lightening bugs dance, I recalled a youth spent chasing and containing them momentarily in jars. Watching their light for a time then releasing them back into their freedom. For a few moments in time, I stood in solitude, simply being. At one in the morning, yesterday was over. It was done, finished and gone. Tomorrow had become today and today was starting with an amazing experience. The gift of quiet, contemplative, peace. A chance to reset, remove the unimportant and unnecessary, replacing it with anticipation of what dawn will bring.
I did see a few flashes across the sky. Here and gone, briefly making their mark across the night. All the while the stars and planets remained. As I turned to make my way home, I realized that we can be either or both. We can have those moments of flashing glory during a life of stability. One can enjoy adventure and yet still be constant and true. One can be surrounded by a multitude, many, or none, and still have an amazing life.
Do I miss my husband still? I know that a part of me will always miss him as we were together for so long. He is the father of my son, a part of him remains always within him. Does being a widow, single and alone bother me? At times. But in truth, I enjoy the solitude, even as I occasionally long for a friend to spend time with in conversation or adventure. The one thing of which I am always reminded, as Christian, I am never alone. God is always with me, the Holy Spirit indwelling. No matter where I go, or how many or none I am with. He is with me. He has given me a strength and understanding of this road I travel. He has given me comfort when I struggled and was afraid. He gives me gifts such as last night, standing in the dark watching the stars and being in the moment and His presence. When I finally made my way to bed, I fell asleep in the contentment born through the knowledge of His love.