Last night, as I turned the lights off and went to climb the stairs I stopped in the hallway, distracted by the pale grey light shining through the porch door window.
Opening the door I looked out at the bay lit in the monochrome of a full moon. It was so bright that it looked like early morning. Like a floodlight, I could see everything.
I shouldn’t go to bed, this was too beautiful to ignore.
It took a considerable amount of effort to resist pulling on my wellies for a walk down to the ocean shore. It may be a tranquil night but I’ve already heard plenty of stories about people getting themselves into trouble by trusting a false sense of security. Wandering alone near the cliffs at night is too risky, even when the night’s peace seems limitless.
Instead I pulled on my ski jacket and salopettes. I grabbed a hat, a glass of whisky, some gloves, a blanket and a sleeping bag. I ventured outside to lay on the grass between the house and the water. Tucking myself into a warm, blanketed cocoon I stared up.
The whole scene above me looked like a cliché, like a fantasy-artist interpretation of a night sky. Or maybe something a teenager might paint as they dream up improbable, romantic images of the universe.
The stars were vivid, extra bright, like cheap LEDs. The clouds sat in huge white fluffy layers underneath. Then came the dramatic sooty black of the rocks. Below that the constant, shimmering ripple of moonlit on the water. Apart from the odd red star there was no colour, just light and dark.
It might be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
I popped in my headphones, took a sip of whisky and let my head fall back onto the cushion. As I did a vivid streak of blue light crossed the sky in front of me. A shooting star. I laughed out loud, it was too bright, too obvious. It was like the heavens were showing off.
The wine and whisky must have washed over me, I felt elated. I’m glad there was no-one there to see me, I probably looked like a crazy person, grinning like a Cheshire cat and with eyes sparkling from joy.
The music shuffled round to Wasting My Young Years by London Grammar, a song whose lyrics feel quite appropriate to me. My biggest phobia has always been getting older; a constant fear of passing into the next stage of life having missed experiences in the former. The awareness that life is brief and that there’s too much to fit in in such a short space of time. Frankly, it scares the bejeesus out of me.
As the song came on it reminded me of this. But as I lay there I felt nothing. No fear, no phobia. For the first time in my life I don’t feel like there are other experiences happening in the world that I might be missing out on. At this precise moment this is all I need. There’s nothing I could want more right now than to be on my back staring up at the stars.
It reminds me why I love this place. It’s strange to feel so attached to a geographical area but I feel that there’s something special here. I can’t work out what.
I might be alone tonight but I don’t feel lonely one bit. I notice shadows fly above me and move in the corner of my eye but I don’t feel fear.
(Actually, I haven’t ever felt scared here. Each night I hear doors blow open and closed downstairs or things move or wind rush down the chimneys. But I’m never scared)
I’m not sure what it is about this place, something just feels right. Looking up at the stars I feel at home.