“I was driving back, and I looked up and I couldn’t believe it. I pulled over and got out of my car and I just started crying.”
-Anne Hillenbrand, upon seeing the bright stars in the clear Kankakee sky
I would spend hours gazing up at the stars when I lived in Momence, IL, a very small town 2 hours south of Chicago in Kankakee County. I recently told one of my old Kankakee friends that living down there was like a dream. I talk often about it in the same way I talk about my dreams; the events having no real timeline, the details seeming sometimes magical. I’ll say one thing for living down there; it made you appreciate a society devoid of light pollution. Often at night, I wouldn’t want to go to sleep for fear of not appreciating the intricate lace structure of the stars above me and somehow losing all future opportunities to see them. It was the same feeling I had when I lived in the penthouse of one of the only water-front buildings left in Chicago during my dorm time at Loyola University. When I was in Chicago, I would sit for hours looking out at the water listening to the endlessly varying waves. When I was in Momence, I would walk out into my back yard and look up at that powdered sugar on dark melted chocolate until my neck cramped mightily.
Come to think of it, every time I have had a good relationship in the works, I’ve always done a lot to appreciate it at the time. So when those good times have had to end, I felt like my mental photo album was full enough. I often wonder if it’s the billions of details that I am gazing at or listening to, the scattered structure of endless variables coming together for me to view from my own singularity. Sometimes, I think back nostalgically to those good moments or good details of my past loves and my mind drifts to the sounds of the lake and the glimmer of those milky way stars. And as it goes, I’ll add my own answered variables to the song of existence for some other being to gaze upon when eons have passed and light years have been crossed.