I Will Not Get Used to This

One night, I made a promise. It was a clear and cold night with a big old moon. I got off the ferry and started the 10-minute walk home. I turned left up the hill, my back to the water, eyes to the sky.

The sky that night was shot through with stars. The stars were shot through with light. And it all just hung there beautifully, silently.

I thought about taking a bunch of pictures, none of which would come out. I thought about calling a nearby friend to say, "Hi, good to hear your voice. LOOK UP!" But neither would do the night justice.

Then I thought, instead, about making a promise, inspired by poet Billy Collins: I will not get used to this.

Every night I can, I will look at this sky with open, attention-giving eyes. I will be present for this.

At the top of the hill, now 30 feet closer to the stars, I made the promise.

And this kind of promise felt life-giving. As though I'd intervened in my day and repositioned it towards what mattered again.

Some nights, I make good on my promise. And the nights I don't, I remind myself, gently: Slow down. Look up. Let's not go getting used to this. 

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