When I was growing up in my family house in the little town of Milwaukie, OR, my siblings and I would lie out on our giant backyard deck, cuddled up in our sleeping bags while peering out into the stars. We waited with bated breath in our childhood wonderment for the brief but spectacular performance of a shooting star. When it finally happened, we would be overcome with glee for having witnessed one of the universe’s miraculous wonders, and then it would be over. Laying on the deck, giggling in excitement, we would continue to stare eagerly at the sky in anticipation of the next show. No matter how many shooting stars we happened to glimpse, each one was truly special in our eyes, and we lived perfectly and completely in that moment.
For the past few days, I have been pondering the ephemerality of this experience. Looking back at my time in Wisconsin as I am to depart to Michigan in mere hours, I can’t help but be conflicted in my emotions. It is a bittersweet cocktail of joie de vivre, and the subtle ebbing of melancholy that feels strangely reminiscent of homesickness. In the condensed period of less than three weeks, I feel like I have lived more than I have in my entire adult life. Each day and each new town brought with it a new and completely transformative experience. I would stay in the home of a complete stranger, and by the time I was supposed to go I would feel like I was leaving a friend. Incredibly amazing (and sometimes completely random) opportunities would present themselves, which I would seize with enthusiasm, leaving me with the thrill of awaiting the possibilities that were still yet to come.
I am only a quarter of the way through my trip, and I am overwhelmed by the anticipation of what has not yet come to pass. This entire adventure is a meteor shower. Every single experience and new connection made is a shooting star; luminous and beautiful, and completely transient. Not one experience can be recreated and can only be fully appreciated, perfectly and completely, in the moment.