Once long ago, on a dark, crisp night near the end of summer, when the snap in the air presaged fall and the stars blinked on before we were sent to our cots for sleep, we kids lounged against the pines, trying to squeeze every last moment out of the day. Glancing up, I gasped: the aurora borealis, those glowing neon curtains, wavered over the lake. Sheer, celestial beauty; a singing of light. Even now, my insides get fluttery with the memory. I wanted to stay up all night, every night to see them. But they did not always show themselves, even as far north as we were. And so some nights, many nights, I’d be put to bed disappointed. Sometimes I cried, an inconsolable 8 year old, the bitterness of not seeing them overshadowing the times I did.
I was young then. And though decades have passed, I’m not really so much older. I still seek beauty during my day, dream of it at night. I’m still hurt, sometimes devastated, when I can not find it.
This does not mean that beauty, those electric celestial curtains, the muscled fabric that stretches through time and contains all space, isn’t there. Just that I have not sat still enough to touch it.