Watch the stars and see yourself running with them.

by thanklemons

Disappearing. The only thing I can think about when I reach back through memory is the strong feeling that I was evaporating into thin air. As a child, I would search empty places for an imaginary door or a nook, some space I could enter and become a part of the scenery. As a teenager, I wanted to be invisible. Going unseen would be a shield, a defense that I would give anything to have.

One summer, I went camping. I lay in a field in the middle of Idaho and stared at the sky changing from dusk to night. Dried grass prickled my skin while I watched shadows appear across plains. I was 14, and the world seemed too large, but I wanted to see it all.

To us, the sky is infinite. It seems never to end, too large to be fathomed in terms we can comprehend. When you get somewhere far enough away from the city, you can finally see the expanse of stars that seem to extend into eternity, and it’s humbling and worrying and beautiful.

The moment when we realize how small we really are is a terrifying thing, and, staring into the stars in an Idaho wheat field, I felt that for the first time. Daunting. The world was full and I was empty, and the realization was stifling. This moment crystallizes in memory, salient, an all-caps paragraph in my internal narrative. Watching the moon shift away from a mountain in the distance and slowly come into view, I was blown away by how desolately the light shone, how little it illuminated.

If the moon does so little, what will I ever do? (Are we so unlike the moon, after all? Subject to gravity, we’re tied to the Earth just the same.)

Grasses rustled and the field was dark. There was no reply.