The spring of 2002 marked my return to Nova Scotia after ten years away. I'm not originally from here but we spent our family summer vacations on Pugwash Point starting in 1979. 1991 was the last time I visited and in 1996, I moved to Vancouver. I followed my heart -- no, not my heart; I followed my head to Vancouver and it took five years for my heart to get through to me: "You are on the wrong coast."
That first summer at the old farmhouse my parents had renovated a few years earlier involved some adjustment, mainly to the lack of light. The first time I drove into the village in the dark, I felt like someone had pulled black felt over my eyes. Beyond my headlights and the road they illuminated, all was black.
At bedtime each night, I walked outside with the two dogs for the last piddle of the day (them, not me) and one evening, I happened to look up at the sky. I mean, way up and then I took a really good look at the night sky.
The book I was reading at the time was a collection of writings by Madeleine L'Engle and the most recent selection I'd read was about disaster. The roots of disaster are 'dis-' meaning away from, and '-aster', meaning star. A "dis-aster" means being separated from our stars, separated from what guides us.
As I'd stood there looking up at that vast night sky, I'd thought, "This sky makes me believe in infinite possibilities." Actually, it was my heart talking to me again. I'd just left my marriage and a job on the West Coast, moved across the country with no idea what I'd do next only to learn my father had Alzheimer's. In that moment, standing there in the backyard looking up into a sky I hadn't seen in the five years I'd been living in a big, well-lit city, I felt like I'd left the dis-aster of my life behind and I needed to believe that infinite possibilities lay ahead of me.
Which all leads me to these days, ten years later:
There are two different dogs to take outside now for the final piddle of the day but as the days get colder and darker earlier, the old dog refuses to get off the warm couch. So I take the young dog for a short walk up the lane. She wears a collar light bulb so that I can keep track of her in this country darkness, where there are no streetlights, and on this particular night, no full moon. When she was done her business, she tore back to the house, back to the warmth, leaving me up the lane alone.
Alone except for the one hundred billion stars above my head.
I don't go out after dark and look up at the sky as much as I should but when I do, I always think, "Infinite possibilities". With that view filling my eyes, how could I not think it, believe it? It's such a powerful vision. There is never a time not to believe in it. Only this time, in 2012, ten years on, there is no dis-aster to find my way back from, no wrong turns or lost paths. This time, I'm already on the path, taking a big leap forward, fearlessly, faithfully, on that path. I believe I believe I believe in infinite possibilities.
As author Les Brown said, Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars.
(Photo source: the Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, Nov. 2012)