When I close my eyes what I see are the mountain valleys
And trees covered with snow
All around me the only sign of civilization are the ski villages
And the air smells like fire in a chimney
With a hint of hot chocolate and waffles at every turn.
I feel myself secluded on the top of one of those mountains
In a cottage covered in snow
Breathing in the fresh mountain air
Cold but only enough that it’s the coziest feeling in the world to come inside to the warmth.
Nothing but inspiration flows in these winds up here
I am as weightless as the thin air this high
And as soft snow falls it consumes me
Until I start and end with the mountain and the sky.
But I blink, and suddenly warm tropical sun is hitting my bare shoulders
White sand resembling snow, but the resemblance stops there
Because these tropical waters are alight with colors other than white and brown and green.
The ocean waves match my hair
And my freckled skin is kissed by the sun in such a way that I swear I belong here forever.
There’s the taste of mojitos in my mouth
And the smell of a scuba mask covering my nose.
Under the water is another world,
One I have never felt so close to
With sharks and corals and fish that all seem to be in such perfect balance
There’s nothing else in the world that matters but the sea and the sun and the sky.
I’m disarmed for a second by the rush of loud noise I at first think are the crashing waves
But then the shrill of a car horn caries and I realize that my feet have shoes on them once again
And they’re touching asphalt.
I look up at the buildings all around me
And though the air isn’t as fresh here,
There’s something to be said about the pretzels in the air
And the car fumes
And the smell of the pavement after the rain.
There’s so much noise, but it beats in time with my heart
And the swell of it all alights my excitement.
There is no place I’d rather be, not in this moment.
My thoughts are as abundant and high-reaching as the buildings all around me
And there’s a world of possibilities that seem to have been awoken in me as I stepped into this city.
The roar of the cars comes to a halt
And all I can hear is the wind though the fields.
My mind, for the first time in a long time,
Has nothing left in it.
I lay here, surrounded by nothing but flat land
Dotted by small white houses
With broken down brown barns to their left,
And stare up at the rolling clouds in the sky.
I don’t know where I am or where I’ve come from
All I know is that one cloud looks like the head of a lion
And the one next to it like a fox chasing his tail.
The wind softly tugs at my hair,
But I’m not cold in the breeze,
And it seems to be a part of me as much as I am a part of this field as I lie here.
Day turns to night quickly, and I’m suddenly looking up at the splattering of the nebulas.
It’s incredible. I’ve never been so close, here on the mountaintop.
I swear that if I reach high enough, I’ll be able to grab one and put it in my pocket. I don’t know why I’m so afraid to try.
The soft waves break against the shore, and there’s something magnificent about the way the ocean reflects the sky
So two dazzling displays are visible,
Working together. One stands unmoving aside from the planes that shoot across it
But the other ripples and flows, ever-moving, never-stopping.
Then I look up and there’s a haze of lights
Some stars, some planes, some just windows from buildings,
But it’s the city that never sleeps
And the stars are brilliant whether artificial or natural,
I feel each one splattered across the insides of me.
I lay here in the field,
Awake but fast asleep
More stars than I’ll ever see in my life spread out before me
And I suddenly feel smaller than ever,
This mortality that I am faced with is hammered into me by the brightness and abundance of all the stars in the sky.
I wonder who I am again,
Wonder how I got myself here,
On this mountain,
On this beach,
In this city,
In this field,
But I cannot find the through-line,
Not in this maze of constellations
And so I stop questioning for just a moment
And instead close my eyes and let my heart decide which way it wants to be pulled tonight,
And the stars oblige.