dark sky park, part 1. june 14th.

it's going to be hard to do this.

i think that where i have to start is where i am.

mentally, i am broken.

i feel like i had my heart and my head cracked wide open.

i feel like my life is nothing like i want it to be.

it's interesting that kit and i just met for drinks, to recover from returning to real life. and that all day, and all night last night, both of us came to independent conclusions about our lives that are incredibly significant.

seems that what we saw and felt were not the only profound things to come from this weekend.

i also have to admit that it is hard to plug back in. writing analog for four days makes rehashing it here seem like a daunting task.

trying to explain these things will be difficult. but i'll do my scattered best to make that happen.

there are so many stories. the story of the weekend will have to come later.

essentially, when you see things like galaxies and planets and nebulae and clusters of stars, you realize that there are entire worlds out there, galaxies out there, planets out there.

it sounds dumb. but really, it's mind numbing.

the whole trick is that, once you know where to look, you can always see.

there was a lot of talk about trips i've taken in the past. and a lot of talk about past lives.

and i relate this to both a drug addiction, and an acid trip.

i believe that, once you open you brain to something with a hallucinogen, you kinda never see the world in the same way again. and also, that once you see things in that way, you can see them in that way even when you haven't touched the shit for over a decade.

so to say that once you know where to look for something, and how to see something is not a new idea.

but when it lies outside of our planet, and (because i live in a well lit metropolis) outside of what i can see on a daily basis, it is life altering.

there are so many tangents i went on, on paper, this weekend. because there was no electicity in the wilderness. not for us, anyway. when your head is being completely flooded and overwhelmed with information, it makes it hard to think and process clearly.

these are a few of the things that i figured out this weekend, while seeing some things that really melted my mind:

i am an escapist. not a new idea. but it explains why i felt so at peace out there. i didn't think about the divorce. i didn't think about money. i didn't think about rent or my apartment. i didn't think about bills. i didn't think about anything insignificant (aka: the small stuff).

despite only getting an average of three and a half hour nap each night, i felt well rested when i came back. and more excited than i have been in a while.

i was writing a lot about intervention before i left, because i was watching a lot of intervention before i left.

maybe that is why i wrote about this trip as an addiction:

i could not get enough.

i tried it once, and immediately thought about the next time i would do it.

i wanted all the paraphernalia right away, so that i could partake whenever i so choose.

i didn't need sleep.

i don't want to work.

i want to spend my days in that place, doing those things. instead of being a responsible adult and living in the real world.

i wanted to prolong the high.

life without it seems dull, boring, less extraordinary.

there are other ways that it is the same.

but today, i realized that i think i need to have a job where i travel.

all i want to do is go on vacation. even though this was a weekend trip, and i didn't miss work, i go home in ELEVEN fucking days.

and all i want to do is plan my next trip, my next vacation, my next adventure.

i was saying to kit tonight, that i can't believe we tapped into this whole other world. and she thought it was funny that i chose the word world, because really, it's a whole other universe. multiple universes.

but i meant it in the way that we have found these crazy star people.

who totally get off on finding shit in the sky and seeing it better than they do on a regular basis from their own back yards.

the whole way up, driving through the countryside and mountains, we kept repeating that we could never give up city life.

and the whole way back, we kept saying, 'i think i want to live somewhere that is dark.'

three days, two nights.

they were the best two days of my life. i wrote it more than once. i said it a couple times.

but i think i really meant it.

the adrenaline, and the raw emotion. the excitement. feeling like i had found this secret niche where i both belong and want to thrive.

it was inspiring. which is quite an understatement.

it made me want to go there, just to write and live and breathe and SEE.

i admitted about a week ago that i never had that feeling with ever, the one about 'i'd die for you'.

because i never would have died for him.

and what i'm about to say is kindof like that.

most people claim that their wedding day is the best day of their life.

i've had a few. all from when i was nineteen in the magical summer.

but as a free, independent, grown adult? i think this is the new IT.

the new best days of my life, so far.

i came back hopeful. i came back humbled. i came back incredibly heady. i came back with this thirst for knowledge that i don't know that i have felt before, to this degree anyway.

because i equate many things to harriet the spy, she goes on this rant about 'i want to go everywhere and see everything, and i want to write down everything!'

it's like that.

i haven't given a single specific yet. and i'm only tapping into the craziness that was my weekend.

the memoir, chock full of details, will have to come later. that is the only solution. first, i feel the need to clear my head of these words. a lot like the last night there.

i had tried to go to bed at two. kit passed out immediately. it was cloudy, so there was nothing to stare at. the star people had packed up, most of them had left. mass exodus at six pm on saturday night.

but those who stayed were rewarded with clear skies from about nine at night until about midnight.

and when the clouds came in, they seemed to want to stay. so everyone called the end and almost everyone went to sleep.

i tried. but i just couldn't. i got out of the tent and wrote for a couple hours with sigur ros in my headphones.

it was a definitive moment.

there was something so right about hearing that music, and sitting where i was sitting, with a red flashlight shining through my fist to write in the night.

i can't believe i didn't cry.

my heart was so full. i was so sad that i felt it nearing its end. i didn't want to let go.

i milked it without seeing much of anything else.

i am so tired.

last night i was too tired to write anything at all.

i just tonight caught up on the lives of my friends and virtual friends.

and just tonight made time to write.

i didn't even mean to. i sat down to write a couple sentences that i didn't want to forget.

and here i am.

it was kindof like that.

the chink in the dam that brings the flood.

without any other tapping, it would have had little effect. but the cumulative effect is devastating.

not in a sad way. i just keep using the word profound.

it's probably the best word for this.

i did cry. tears came to my eyes more than once. but i cried and couldn't stop one time.

because i saw saturn.

i didn't cry when i saw it the first time.

one of our new friends, dave, showed it to me just after sunset on friday. we had said that we were there to see it. so it was what he showed us first.

it was a short time after that, on the loaner telescope of his that he let us use all weekend. when i found it on my own, for the first time. i pointed and lined up with the finder. and i focused in. and i cried.

and i had to look away. and through tears, let kit see it. and i cried. and i cried. and she touched my shoulder and i cried harder.

i just couldn't believe that i finally saw it.

that i was so privileged to be there, at that precise moment in time. seeing something that is so far away. that is so old.

that i had been waiting for, for at least a year, since i started watching the universe documentaries.

that, without needing coffee to show it to me, i found it all on my own. saw it with my own two eyes. and that, as often as i wanted, while it was up, i could go back to it. over and over.

and i did.

i saw it through a few different telescopes. the last time i saw it was pretty incredible. saturday night, before the clouds, before leaving on sunday, in the telescope of all telescopes, a thirty two inch that was well over ten feet high.

(insert jokes about compensating for something else here).

the guy who owned it let us climb the ladder and look into the eyepiece.

and through his incredible scope, saturn was so defined that you could see the shadow of the rings on the face of the planet.

you could see three of its moons.

it was unbelievable.

it's hard to say which was my favorite part, because there were so many. but i think that seeing saturn for the first time on my own was probably it.

finding things in the sky on command was pretty intense. that happened the second night we were there. it was like a test, like being quizzed. being directed to go to a constellation, and x number of degrees (the width of your finger is about one degree, in sky terms) to whichever side of whichever numbered star.

there was this sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that came with it. and an audible gasp at success in finding what it is we were looking for.

seeing the andromeda galaxy which we are on a collision course with (billions of years from now, but regardless) was up there.

seeing clusters of stars beyond what your eyes can decipher and count was incredible. m31 was the crowd favorite. we saw it in every telescope, more than once.

the words i use to describe all of these things (unbelievable, unreal, incredible, etc) translate to 'not able to believe' or 'not able to be believed'.

because you can see it, and know it to be a fact. and it really exists - you can see it with your eyes. but your tiny brain cannot possibly begin to comprehend.

to say that i am hooked is also an understatement.

because just today at work, on a smoke break, i was leafing through sky and telescope magazine (a gift from guy, dave's buddy) i was seeing things in the magazine. and it was from february of 2008, so it's old news, but there are pictures of things. and it tells you where it is in the sky.

and i know how to find it now. i could look at the photo, and if i had a telescope and a dark enough sky, i could point the finder to it, and then look in and see it with my own two eyes.

and that, to me, is something that i cannot get over.

it's like owning the universe.

it's at my fingertips.

to say that i want a telescope is not entirely honest. to say that i need a telescope is more accurate. to say that i MUST have one... that is my future.

i already know it.

i hope i can hold out for a couple of months.

to say that i'm planning my next trip back is also accurate. i was already planning it within a few minutes of being in the dark that first night.

to say that my new plan is to buy the scope before the trip to my grandparent's house in august is going to really strain the cash situation. but i am going during the perseid shower. and i will be in the smoky mountains. and i think that, if i go, i am going to have to have it by then.

and if i don't go, then i will have it before september. before the next star party.

and when i say that it was all coffee all the time, well, that is a double entendre.

when you see that many shooting stars, so many stars that you strain to find the big dipper, it makes it feel like you can wish as much as you want, and that at least some of them will come true.

on friday, i saw at least twelve meteors. and one comet. on saturday, i only saw maybe one, because of the clouds.

regardless... that's a lot of wishing. only i kept forgetting to make wishes. we just kept collectively gasping.

some lasted one second. there and then gone.

some crossed from one side of view to the other, lasting several seconds. there was one in particular that ran from north to south, all the way. beautiful.

i literally drank coffee from the time i got to work on friday, at around seven am, until just before i poured a drink at around four am (technically saturday, in an effort to finally try to sleep as the sun was coming up).

and waking up a few hours later, on saturday, until about ten pm saturday night. and from the time i woke up on sunday until we rolled back into town at about six pm.

i had a gallon of coffee, cooled for iced coffee that i nearly finished, all on my own, in three days and two nights.

it was a little much. but there's no time for sleep in a situation like that. so you join the ranks and drink a shit ton of coffee. you can sleep when you're no longer in the dark.

i'm getting a headache now, and i wonder if it is caffeine withdrawal.

kit appreciates astronomy perhaps more than i do. i know she does, actually. she knows a lot more about it.

but i feel so entrenched in it emotionally, that it gives that a run for the money.

the other thing about coffee is this:

i could not stop thinking about him.

wishing him to be there with me, at some point in the future.

and, on that last night of pre-dawn writing, wishing that he could be there, with or without me.

what i wrote that night was important.

i wrote that i just want him to be happy.

and if that means that he is happy with someone else, sharing a tent with someone else, then that is actually okay with me.

when i wrote it, and right now, i genuinely mean it.

don't get me wrong. i have my preferences. this is no secret.

but i just want him to go.

and see what i saw.

if i show him, then all the better. because i do want to be happy, also.

one of the conclusions that kit and i each came to is that we don't need a boy to be happy. to have fun, to go on an adventure, to see the world, to learn, to seek these things out. to be inspired.

and though i will struggle with this for a long time, i am starting to get there. i am starting to be less afraid of doing things alone. and pretty comfortable doing them with friends.

just genuinely meaning what i said about him being happy is a step in the right direction. because the sun won't rise and set based on what he says or doesn't say, or whether he even shows up at all.

they will keep rising and setting, as they have been, for billions of years. coffee won't change that for me, much less for the world surrounding me.

but i am happy.

and i wouldn't have wanted it to be any other way, than being there with kit, celebrating the day she was born into this world, onto this planet, with her and a group of people who are genuinely great. but specifically, with her only.

we had too much fun. we laughed until we cried so many times.

and already, there are inside jokes that are so funny that we're still crying while we remember. i'll include them in the story that will be part 2.

as we rolled back into town, life kinda flooded back into our heads. we got off the highway at work, which is our exit to our apartments that are three blocks apart.

and i realized that i have a lot to do in a little time. everything that i hadn't thought to think about while i was driving and being there and driving back flooded back with an anxiety inducing vengeance.

i realized that i am going to have to bust ass to get out of here and onto the plane that will take me home in eleven short days.

we went out for drinks tonight. i think it was, as it is every night for me, a coping mechanism. we tried to immerse ourselves back into our separate realities. our living working lives.

and neither of us could find the autonomy. because the astronomy was still in the forefront.

feeling so intensely inspired. wanting that feeling back again. wanting to be there again. all day, every day. until the novelty starts to wear off. i can't imagine that it would even be possible. because every night presents the opportunity to see something which is slightly different from the day before.

this is the other thing. i'm going home. and forever now, i've been measuring it in months.

since december, really. and then it got to the two month mark, and i started measuring it in weeks.

and for a while now, it's felt like it was three weeks away.

before, when it was five or four weeks away, i kept thinking it was only three. and now that it's under two, i finally realized it's not three weeks away anymore.

it's now being measured in days. it started at eighteen days away. and somehow, by magic, it's under two weeks away. it's eleven days away.

and i felt ill at work when i counted and realized how soon it is going to arrive.

because i have too much to accomplish in a short period of time.

a few things have gotten away from me.

and i need to reign them in so i am not anxious about my trip, but excited again.

and because i'll probably never be done with talking about the boy who is 'coffee', kit attributes the anxiety about going home to dealing with him.

i started a game with him tonight. i called it dark skies.

it will be the platform in which i ask him to a drink in person to play a game while i am home.

it will be the place where he puts in writing 'yes' or 'i can't' or 'i don't want to' or 'no' or 'i'm going to be gone'.

it will be the place where i tell him that i have quite the story for him, and that he should let me buy him a drink.

what he won't know won't hurt him.

and if he doesn't care to hear my stupid stargazing story, then fuck'im.

because it's not stupid. and it would excite him. and he would want to see it for himself. and other than kit, at the moment, he is the only person who would feed off of the excitement in my voice as i tell it, and equal the excitement.

and at some point, after that story, i'd ask him the big question about the non-kiss. or about what even really happened anyway. however it is that i end up phrasing it.

kit thinks that once i taste the victory of closure that i'll become addicted to it the way that she is. and that i'll never let it get away from me again. and that gaining it from the one person i need it from the most will make it so that every person or time after is cake.

lack of closure is why i am who i am. it's why i still think about coffee, dub, the sun, and um. it's why i still don't know what is going to happen with ever. it's probably why i'm delaying filing for divorce, even though i want that closure to be here and passed.

people are starting to pick up on the last name drop on facebook.

i wish it was real. i wish it was official. i hope i can make myself make that call tomorrow. to think of the lawyer in time to act on it.

it is so close. i am so close to putting it behind me and moving on. i have already started over. but not in the law's eyes.

the trip home is going to be so great for me. to be there, with people i love and care about. with a boy that makes me wonder at night. and during the day, in all honesty.

i'm going to reconnect with people i haven't seen in a while.

i'm going to float in the pool and get tan lines, finally.

there's a lot riding on this trip. everything, in some ways.

it's coming fast. faster than the speed of light. and though i still don't really understand that exactly, i have a much better idea now...

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