there is awe in my soul when i stare up at the sky, and i see nothing but darkness stretching all around me

2011 February 18 § 3 Comments

I let my eyes wander through the bright lights inside the car before staring out the window, squinting slightly at the glowing golden tint of passing streetlights. The farther we go, the fewer there are, until soon the only lights we can see are the vivid whites and pale colors of the dashboard gauges and the rings around the radio knobs and airflow controls. Sometimes, the pronounced darkness of trees looming tall around the mountain road makes the lights inside the car seem brighter than they really are –

– like static fireflies waiting to be released back into the night sky –

– and closing my eyes, I can still faintly imagine their glow, following the lead of our headlights, guiding us to our destination.

I always try to hide my nervousness about driving in the mountains (something about the constant curving of the road and the consequences of tumbling right off the cliff into a forested abyss), but tonight the curves don’t seem so scary, and the slight side-to-side motion as we make left turns followed by right turns, rinse and repeat, only makes me hold your hand tighter as the car trundles along steadily, still following a path lit by giant fireflies.

When we turn off cement and onto gravel, I bite my lower lip, resisting the urge to peer out my passenger door window to watch as my tires roll along the crunching bits of rock. I have visions of tires going flat or losing traction and skidding; whether the scenarios are physically possible, I have no idea, but my fears and imagination never did obey the laws of physics.

‘Everything okay?’

Warmth and concern bring me back from imaginings of danger and crisis. A flush warms my cheeks and my heart, and I smile and nod in the affirmative.

Did you just know, or was it the tightening of my grip that gave me away?

We’ve been driving slowly but steadily for some time now, and reaching an open area intersected by another graveled path, the car finally stops. When you banish the car’s fireflies back into the night, there is nothing for us to see by.

I open the car door and step out, motions that I’ve done hundreds of times before. Idly, I remember the past times I went stargazing: on another hilltop with friends; digging my toes into the cold sand at the beach; driving down endless dunes of sand.

And then there is nothing, as I stare at the dozens of stars peeking from behind the treetops, and then tilt my head back to see the thousands dotting the midnight sky. The darkness interrupted by distant balls of gas and light, it stretches all around us and surrounds us, an embrace that is at once awe-inspiring and fearsome, lonely and welcoming. I cannot help wondering if we are but insignificant tiny gears within this giant universe, this world of worlds that is larger than human comprehension…

But there is awe in my soul when I stare up at the sky, and I see nothing but darkness stretching all around me. There is no need for words as our shoulders brush together, leaning against the car.

When your hand touches against mine, I entwine our fingers together without removing my gaze from the beauty that is always around us. Always waiting for our realization, for us to see.

And I am at peace.

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