I lift your old work-coat off the hook, pull it on, and step outside, walking away from the house-lights, away from the phone, the buzz and swirl of my new, many-faceted life. The cats come with me, naturally. We walk out beyond the tree row, past the barns, heading toward the hill. Deep darkness surrounds and the dome of the sky is spangled with constellations. There must be a slight haze because the little stars are hidden. (The little stars. Ha! Those stars are massive and light years away, some of them already burned out. But from here they look like diamonds hung against a black cloth.) The air is bright with cold, my breath blooming white before me.
The great owl speaks into the silence and I stop, listening. I hear no rustling sounds this night. All the little creatures are tucked snug in their burrows. Standing there in the quiet, I feel my heart begin to slow. How blessed I am to live here on the open prairie, far from the city lights. I know, some days I say differently; some days I think it too removed from family and friends. Other days, when the hot wind is battering me into insanity, I hate this openness, this nothing but earth and sky. It isn't the prairie I need, it is merely a bit of solitude. But I need to be near my people too. " 'Tis a puzzlement." This is where I am now. That is all I know for certain.
I lie down upon the still warm earth and open my eyes in a wide-angle gaze, unfocused and gathering in as much of the sky as possible. I so love the wide, wild universe. A single white star flares, falls, and fades, arcing across the blackness. I smile and shake my head. Almost without fail, when I am out under the stars and thinking of you, I see at least one star fall, streaking down the sky. When you were here with me and we were watching the stars, you used to say, "When I am gone, I will send you falling stars to let you know I still love you." I told you I would much rather you stayed. Well...
Orion is rocked onto his back. The cats lie close beside me, ears alert.
I miss the Fireflies.