dark sky park 2011. may 29th.

so. dark sky. typing in the dark, post beer. pretty interesting experience... to really see how well you know the keys.

what an interesting skill typing is. how quickly our brains learn to move fingers accurately. how you have to coordinate so many things to make typing work. and how much faster it is to type than to write. even though it's pitch black, i'm here typing with my eyes closed. like it's helping me find the keys or something.

this whole trip has been a pretty heady one for me. obviously the greg shit is top. first and foremost. i can't keep my brain out of it.

but aside from that, i kindof retreated a little. and i hope it was okay in the grand scheme of the weekend. it took us six hours to get up here, all of which was spent being very happy, very traffic-less, and relatively un-lost and on point. it was cool as shit.

kit's mixes were awesome. my mixes were awesome. it all just gelled.

and we had fun on the way up, all coffee and fast food and giggles. drove through a goddamn monsoon to get there. the storm started about 45 minutes from cherry springs. and it doubled the length of the remaining drive, and the music was so perfect. we were dancing to 'gone daddy gone' during the worst of it. and it was fantastic. and gogol bordello. so great.

and then made it here.

and it was awful, that last leg of the drive. we were driving into a wall of black clouds and lightning, driving through clouds in the mountains that made the windshield all white.

we stopped at a grocery store for ponchos, because we knew we were pitching the tent in the rain. that was a smart call. and i slipped on a puddle of water from a leak in the store and nearly busted my ass by doing a split in my completely non-treaded crocs. it was scary.

it was hard, wanting to be there and driving so fast in the pouring rain. and rolled up, in a drizzle. we pitched the tent in a steady drizzle. it really didn't let up. we had ponchos, but they didn't work as well as they should have. kit got a hole in hers putting it on, and had her head through an armhole. it's hard to pitch a tent while you're in hysterics.

and what's more, the tarp was acting like a bucket. and we had no instructions for the borrowed five person tent, or so we thought. it was the last thing to fall out of the bag of stakes after we'd already staked the tent all into the ground, partially through the tarp.

but, somehow we did it. i think it took an hour from the first time the tarp came out of the trunk, until the tent was together, and the air mattress was going inside. and that was the first hour. we were soaking wet. and muddy. it was awful, but we were feeling alright.

and then we just hung around, and walked around, and got aubree acquainted with the grounds.

in an epic planning fail, the astronomical society didn't have a food vendor. it wasn't okay - usually there's a food stand that operates 24/7, since everyone is up all the time, and in need of a constant supply of coffee. we rolled in hungry because we were just going to get some awesome hot dinner there, after we pitched the tent.

and then realized there was no food vendor. and it fucked the whole night. no coffee, no dinner, just snacks. the rule on the astronomy viewing field is that no cars are allowed in or out of the gates after dark, because you can't use headlights or any light at all that isn't shone through a red filter, to preserve night vision.

so we bolted to the country store in an effort to get there before they closed, and to get back before dark. only they have no hot food, just snacks, which we were already loaded down with.

so our dinner that night was kinda fucked: baby carrots, string cheeses, apples, granola, cheezits, applesauce, peanut butter, cinnamon life, sun chips. just GROSS. we were starving, too. so we pigged out on that.

and i left out the bit where we had an entire cooler full of beer. state parks in pennsylvania don't allow alcohol in the park. and probably not glass either. if you get caught, you get thrown out. but because of the weather, and because it's fucking CAMPING, we defiantly packed about a case of beer for the weekend.

so after the strangest dinner in the history of dinners, we started to drink. just one beer, but still. we earned it.

the thing about dark sky is this...

looking up poses a few problems. you really need lounge chairs. your neck hurts, but worse? you get really dizzy. vertigo style - the variety that doesn't pass quickly. so mixing a little bit of alcohol with that just amplifies the feeling. which is why we always reserved drinking until about 4 am, when it was time to start trying to sleep. but not this time.

that night, there were no clear skies. aubree and i didn't give up. not until around 330, after catching a 30 minute window of crappy stargazing. i wrote in paper journal until 430 that morning, considerably earlier than most nights in cherry springs.

the days seem to run together here.

i guess it stopped raining after a while, but everything was saturated. the day before, there were tornado warnings. there had been one that touched down nearby; hail, pouring rain and all. so last night, there were standing puddles. and the car paths are gravel, but the rest is all grass, so when you'd step into grass, more often than not, your feet went under muddly puddles.

at one point, we got out of the clothes we'd arrived in, for something drier. but pretty soon that was all damp and muddy, too.

and by the time it was time for bed, i was in pjs that were also damp, but not as muddy.

last night, i got into the car to write, and decided to sleep there. i don't know. the wet tent sounded like the worst idea to me. that means a steamy seven am wakeup. and the car was almost too warm for me, but also not wet. and all i wanted was to be dry. and i wasn't dry. not until today when the sun came out, and we had time to dry out in the sun.

kit got another epic sunburn. and i got a little sun, i guess. it was awesome. seventies and sunny all day. it was what we needed at night, only it was clear during the day, and the storms were rolling through at night, and had been since tuesday, according to everyone who had been there all week.

i spent the beautiful day writing greg back, from his two emails, in the sun.

and maybe it was a waste of a beautiful day. but it was what i was wanting to do at that point. and i was collecting sun, so i didn't think it was that bad of a call.

he had emailed me a couple times, once during the drive that i got at the stopping point, and once i was here and signal-less. i read them when we were in car outside the bathrooms when we were back at the site.

the first email was written at work on friday. he had a half day before the holiday weekend and i'd sent him a huge email the night before, with twenty questions for him to chip away at over the weekend. it was called, 'in case the need arises in my absence'.

his response within a couple hours of him arriving to work was called 'the need arose'.

and he answered every single question, and posed a few for me as well.

and i got all choked up because half of his answers were my answers.

but it was the second email, about his day and where his head is and all the usual stuff we discuss in teeny baby steps at a really high rate of speed, that was the one that did me in.

i had the biggest cry yet. it was a two-parter. something about him loving the way i looked underneath him. i started giggling and smiling, and it turned into a cry with my hand over my mouth.

and something about me knocking him for a loop and that he's really into it. that was the second part.

there were other amazing lines, mixed in as well. but those two? i couldn't stop crying for a couple minutes. i was worried that i freaked kit out. and when aubree came out of the bathroom, she realized she was walking into a cryfest, and told me to pull it together, without knowing what it was even about.

i couldn't. i don't know. i hope it goes away soon.

it makes me feel a little crazy, i guess. more than anything, unstable. everything seems possible. like a come to jesus moment, without the jesus.

and this is my last cigarette here tonight, hopefully.

it's two am. and cloudy as hell, at the end of a beautiful day, and a night that allowed us some sky staring.

we got a solid hour plus of gazing in tonight. which included seeing saturn. first thing to see, as is always the case. it's the show stopper, and everyone finds it first. it rises early this time of year i guess, and it's the don't miss event.

we looked through a six inch telescope. aubree loved it. and we saw one fuzzy-looking globular cluster. and something else i already forgot, a double star. and then saw the coathanger constellation, through a pair of borrowed binoculars, which i don't remember seeing before.

and i'm listening to the makeout mix in headphones now. and i was really struggling to stay awake to type this out. it was like my mind was wandering to conversations with greg, and i was coming back to the keyboard, unable to remember the sentence i'd just typed when i came back, consciously. so i turn on the screen, re-read, and keep going. again and again, probably five times to this point.

if he wasn't saying so much to me to make me feel like he is on point and in the same headspace, feeling the same things to me that i am feeling, i would be pretty heartbroken. i am so glad that is not the case.

he said today that i have officially crept into his thought processes. that he was making breakfast, and that, if i was there, he wouldn't put eggs on my plate because i think they're gross. and that he can't wait to take me there.

it will be interesting to see how he makes time for me. i think that will be my biggest struggle, but i also think he's starting to arrive at the decision to make more time for me.

i mean, more than 24 hours is a gift, in my brain. we have to make up for lost time, from what we're both thinking and feeling and admitting to, when we're apart.

this whole week started off with me having three beers in my system, and telling him about clearing my mind three times in one day. and he brought up the phrase 'throwdown' that i'd mentioned in an email where i said i liked him, but that before i met him, was worried i wouldn't want to throwdown with him. which was a phrase he was not familiar with. and about 'redlining'. and the joke about humping parking meters. he loved it - i cracked him up.

and the emails since maybe thursday haven't been super explicit, but very suggestive. it's fun and it feels a little dangerous, because most of what i send him, he reads at work and responds to without the privacy of a cubicle.

for the first time today, writing to him, i said more than i was absolutely comfortable with. because he's done it now a few times. so i guess i feel like it's only fair to be the one saying something and crossing my fingers that he reads it and gets it and smiles, too.

i want him to smile the way he makes me smile. and feel relieved. because he does that for me every single fucking time he says anything to me. on the phone, in a text, in an email. any method, it doesn't matter.

i just said goodbye to the skies here. i know i'll be back before september. it's okay that the only thing in the sky is the summer triangle right now. because all i want is a summer triangle.

happiness, love, fun. with some stars and adventures sprinkled in for good measure. i want to know how it feels to fall, for real.

to let go and have it pay off in a big way. i hope that is where's i'm headed. it's been a long time coming, and this is a road i've never had the privilege of traveling down.

and it's a gamble. it's a force i cannot explain. but i'm so ready for it, and so excited. and scared, all at the same time. which is good for keeping myself in check.

and what's crazy is that i do feel like i am a little underprepared. but everything is so natural and wonderful already. last year all i wanted to was to go home and spill to coffee and bring him here this year.

and i was alone boywise, with kit, and not happy about it.

and this year? without the coffee regrets, and honestly having him out of my system legitimately. and wishing for greg to be here with me.

some things never will change. i'll always want to share that with my boy.

but this time, i wished it, knowing he wanted to be here, with me specifically.

that he WILL be here. because it's on the list.

it's so much fun to daydream and pretend with him. and it's so much fun to plan things with him. in all honesty, when ever and i first started dating, we used to talk on the phone a lot, because we were two hours apart and only saw each other on the weekend. and we used to daydream on the phone. but it wasn't like this. because all my daydreams were things he wasn't into at all, and vice versa. he'd talk about things we did at his place, and i'd talk about tropical adventures he refused to go on with me.

this is so incredible, simply because he really wants to do everything with me, and our idea of perfect vacation daydreams are exactly the same.

tomorrow is going to be pretty amazing. i'll be on the grid and somehow off the grid back in philadelphia, in the house and kitchen and living room and bedroom of a boy that is totally and completely in every square inch of my mind and body and heart.

it's going to feel good to let go tomorrow. to be together, finally, after having traveled through the next amount of distance we have covered with words this past week.

i'm ringing in memorial day in his bed. it's going to be amazing. i really can't wait.

and i know that i will not soon forget it. even if somehow things go terribly wrong down the line and i want to forget that this weekend ever happened.

but the difference is? i'm enjoying the adventure. i'm enjoying myself! this weekend was so awesome, and i'm honestly totally glad he wasn't here for it. i needed the time to be here and alone, despite being here with kit and aubree. and i needed the girl time we have spent together, when i wasn't being alone.

the space to be able to write so much, like i do when i'm here.

i just process it best that way. i love it here. i love how it inspires me and makes me want to be more, and to be better. to say things no one has said before, to my knowlege. to document the string of thoughts, how they flow, and what they are.

to let me think clearly without someone watching me or looking back at me. to think about things i want to say and do, without having any outside influence other than the sky and campground.

the girls gave me a lot of shit about writing to him all day today. but i wasn't writing for him only. and i wasn't only writing, either. i was paying attention to the majority of the conversations that kit and aubree were having.

and we went to two AMAZING lectures. one was about using iphone and ipad for astronomy. and before the lecture i was making fun of aubree for wanting an ipad... 'why the fuck do you need an ipad?? just get the laptop. there's no need.'

but hooking it up to a telescope using a program that tells it where to point and also displaying the image on the screen, too. along with any specs you could ever want to know about it. size, distance, history, who discovered it. everything!

and the one after that was my favorite! it was a talk about dark matter.

i felt amazing because i could keep up with what he was saying for the most part, thanks to watching the universe and nova.

and the cool thing about the guy is that, during the ipad lecture, i saw this dude sitting outside of the pavilion, working on his laptop. and i stopped to say hi. he just looked so fucking cool. i mean, super geeky. crazy wiry grey hair afro.

and i said that he looked so content sitting there, overhearing the lecture faintly, and working on the computer. and i didn't realize he was the dark matter speaker, and that i was talking to him while he prepped for the presentation he was about to give.

but i was glad that i noticed him and said hi to him.

his talk was so cool. i love when people are excited about what they do. especially in a field like science, because it means that they are pioneers. pioneers are my favorite kind of people.

so we did the lectures, and we entered the raffle. and didn't win the binoculars.

and went back to camp to write some more. and they gave me more shit, because at that point, i'd not even finished the twenty questions portion, much less started the second set of writing.

but we played travel scrabble, because that's what we do. and kit killed it right off the bat, and i was struggling to finish the writing. because i was burnt at that point, and just wanted to send it off and be done with it. but i managed to be in the game. and the sun set, and we used the red lantern to finish the game. kit scored double what i did. but it was fun to play anyway.

and then i asked to be forgiven, and bounced in the chair having to pee so bad, and just wanting to FINISH the thing and send the email from the bathrooms.

that's the trick to dark sky. no cell towers. they have a wifi connection there, which is spotty and is only connected at the bathrooms. it is almost completely off the grid. i didn't have an iphone last year, so it was completely off the grid for me then.

but this time it made me feel great to be able to get random texts from people who knew i was loving life up there, and saying hello. and of course, to be able to mail the emails and receive the emails. i kinda can't imagine if i hadn't been able to do that. what i received and sent was amazing.

so i finished up after hours of intermittently working on it.

but i was writing for me, too. i'll paste in some of that, so you get what i mean. it was me figuring out so much about myself and what i think and feel. paper journal is great already, a fresh start that has only been written in up here, so far.

and the letter i wrote to him last night was so heartfelt and wonderful. i really think he's going to totally love it and that there will be a squishy hug at the end of the reading.

i was opening up to him. and it was scary.

and because i'm programmed, if there is a lull in communication, i tend to freak myself out completely. did i say too much? did i say enough? is he scared? is he interested? is he running yet? is that why he's not responding immediately?

it's a barrage of thoughts that are all so negative, because i just can't get it into my head that he loves all of it and that he's as into it as i am. and because i get scared, and start thinking that way, when i get something back from him that quells it, those are the times i cry. because it's such the relief i need.

and unlike all the letters i've written to boys before, that i'm so fucking good at writing, i know for certain that this one will be appreciated. and maybe even reciprocated. he wants to get back to writing again. and i'm thinking that we are going to be each other's muses. which is so exciting, i can't even think about everything that will come out of it.

he wants to read things i've written. no boy has EVER asked to read what i've written, except dr sam who was gay, and robbie, who just doesn't count for some reason.

good night, dark sky park. you are my favorite. i love you and all that you do for me. i'm inspired. the well is full. and i'm too tired to keep my eyes open. a full night's sleep is going to do so much good for me.

and sigur ros is sending me off, the way it got me through this time last year.

thank you, dark sky park. you have a special place in my heart...

* * *

it feels so great to head back after this trip. a trip not spent wanting for something that feels unattainable. a trip not spent feeling disappointed and like something was missing. and being happy being myself, being alone. it took so long to get to this point...

i don't know. i'm ready to go back. i'm grateful for the stars i got to see. i'm grateful for being back in the car with kit and to take aubree on adventure number one.

and what i'm going back to? it's so exciting.

i'm tired enough from lack of sleep over the course of the past three plus nights to be too tired to be freaking out. it's like a lull in the constant state of heightened sensations.

it's a little surreal, because i've spent the hours between packing (friday at noon) until now (sunday at 145) thinking about it incessantly. i guess now comes the fear.

my heart is racing, in a different way, and my stomach hurts. will it go as well as we both say it will and believe it will and want it to? how amazing will it be? will i be able to walk after? to talk after? to think after? to do anything other than cry incessantly happy tears for the next week until he makes time for me? to feel anything other than overwhelmed and completely in love?

i don't know. i don't want to feel any specific way. i just want to be able to function, and sleep. and BREATHE. it's going to be something unlike anything i've ever experienced.

how will i greet him? will i see the house first? will we even keep clothes on for more than the time it takes to peel them off? jesus christ. okay. body is back on board. right now. and kit from the front passenger seat says, 'i'm reading your pheremones loud and clear. my body is excited for what your body is about to go through.'

i spilled a huge pool of coffee in my lap at the second pee stop. i mean a FLOOD. and i immediately thought, 'oh nooooo, i can't get an infection!'

and peeled off my shorts. and sat in coffee-soaked underwear for a minute. which is kindof a funny way to put it. luckily there was a towel immediately available, which is even funnier because of the whole towel day/hitchhiker's guide thing last week.

and for the first time ever? i rode in the car in just a tee shirt and a bra. with a towel draped over my unclothed self, until the next pee break. kindof weird and scary and uncomfortable. thankfully nothing drastic happened, where someone would have to pull me from my car unconscious, half naked. dear god... it's pretty fucking funny!

and now my head is back in that space again.

and it's more than a little scary, too. because we have now successfully talked a perfect circle around saying that we are completely gone for each other. and all that makes me feel comfort right now is that i know it won't be taken wrong. it won't be too much.

he won't run.


he will run toward me, if anything. but he'll hold me and say nice things back. and we'll share quite a bit. physically, emotionally. just being together. finally.

it's going to be memorable, for sure.

and i'm going to sleep.

it's something i noticed when he stayed over, and can't remember if i mentioned before.

i slept next to him, when he wasn't letting me go. i never sleep when i'm next to boys. i toss and turn, and wish for an empty bed, so i can just sleep.

that first night, it took forever to fall asleep because every square inch of my body was so charged. but once i listened to the little noises he made while he was sleeping, and feeling his hands move so slightly on me while he was sleeping, kissing my neck without ever waking up, squeezing me so slightly, likely acting out something he was dreaming.

i listened to him, smiling hugely, and fell asleep. waking up for a few seconds, pulling his arm tighter around me, and kissing his fingers. melting. and drifting right back off again. woke up feeling well rested after a three hour nap from 4 to 7 am.

i'm so ready for more of that.

wish me luck, blogger. and know that if something insane happens, and i don't survive this weekend...

i went out with a big fucking smile on my face. happy, the way i want to go out. i can't imagine a better way to go.

smitten and fulfilled. inspired and full of love and hope and elation.

it's too good to be true, really. i keep waiting for the tragic end. i hope it never comes...

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