One summer night while working as a lifeguard, I returned to the pool after my shift along with my coworkers for a guard party consisting of breaking almost every rule we were paid to yell at children for breaking and eating copious amounts of food.
As all the action began to die down and people settled into the wooden picnic benches around the guard table, I was reminded by one coworker that tonight was one of the last nights to view the annual Perseid Meteor shower. As much as I have always loved space and nature, I had never before ventured out into the night to watch a shower of stars. Looking him in the eyes, filled with the excitement of possibilities and of the end of summer, I asked, “well, do you want to go watch?”
Maybe in some alternate universe, these were the first words to a breathtaking romance. In this universe, it was only 10 PM and the sky was far too bright to see any meteors yet. He was leaving in three days for college and had just worked his last shift, while I was returning to high school for my senior year at the end of the month, meaning I probably wouldn’t see him again until the next summer. Still, as we lay there staring into the endless dark sky and laughing about some since forgotten joke, I couldn’t help but feel connected and a part of the entire universe I was existing in.
I knew then how much human connections to nature mattered. It led to my belief that above all else, sharing the natural wonders of the world with people you care about will lead you to a fulfilling life. As I giggled into the night, the world wrapped her arms around me and told me everything I needed was right in front of me.
After returning home to bed, filled with a lingering excitement, I randomly awoke early in the morning, with 4:00 AM staring at me on my clock. For a few minutes I groaned to myself at the idea of missing sleep, before remembering those stars I cared so much about. I grabbed a blanket and snuck out of my house with the hope to not wake up my sleeping family.
As I lay myself onto my asphalt driveway, the only place near my house with a clear view of the sky, I was again stunned by the beauty of the pinprick stars above me. Soon, I saw the first meteor and let out my breath, hearing nearby watchers yell out a cheer. We were all in this together, with a constant reminder of wholeness hiding in the sky.