As the eloquent poet The Weeknd once said, “I’m a motherfucking Star
My parents and I took many road trips while I was growing up. We drove and flew all over the U.S., but one of the places we went to a lot (I’m talking more times that I can count) is Lake Tahoe.
The memory that sticks out the most in my mind is one of 7-year-old me looking out the backseat car window as we drove through the night.
I would look up at the Moon and place my finger up to the window to touch it. After a while, I noticed that the Moon wasn’t falling far behind us, like the signs and cars were. The Moon was following us.
In my child-brain, this was something extraordinary. There were cars and people all around us, but the Moon wasn’t following them. It was following me.
I’m fairly certain that my love affair with the Moon, and later on space, began right then and there.
In middle school and high school (and even on Summer break), I was obsessed with the idea of becoming an astronomer. I read books on the constellations, our solar system, and the origins of our Universe.
In college, the idea of becoming an astronomer turned into something bigger; it became real. That is until I looked at the program’s curriculum and realized that my Mathematics skills were definitely not up to par.
Okay, so I won’t be an astronomer. C’est la vie, I thought.
And yet- I remained undeterred. I had fallen for space, and I had fallen hard. Nothing could or ever would change that.
A few years ago I bought a telescope.
On one of our first dates, my now boyfriend and I built the telescope together (okay I built it because I refuse to relinquish control most of the time/love building things); and on August 12, 2015, we drove to Anza Borrego-Springs to witness the Perseid meteor shower.
It was a weekday and I had to work the next day, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was laying on the soft, sandy Earth in the middle of the desert, cradled in the warms of a warm and kind soul, with nary a soul in sight. Minutes later, lights started to shoot across the sky, one after the other. With our fingers and eyes pointed upwards, I felt my heart quicken its pace.
I was falling, again.
The existence of black holes, distant stars and planets, and especially the potential of extraterrestrial life is at times too much for me to handle.
There’s an infinite possibility of worlds and Universes and beings and organisms and, and, and then I remember…
I remember tiny, impressionable, awestruck 7-year-old me. I remember the time I discovered that the Moon was following me; the feeling that I was being looked after and safe.
That feeling is still there, and the Moon still follows me.