If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may know that I was in Chicago last week. I promise to write about Chicago soon, but, right now, I can only write what is thrilling inside my soul at this very moment. And my soul is currently in Cedar City, Utah.
Here’s the thing: I left Australia less than two weeks ago, and have already been struggling a little with doubting what I’m doing, with secretly scrambling to justify this freedom I’ve given myself.
Yet in the past two days, all my doubts have swirled away. Because this, right here, these are the moments, the people, and the adventures that I never want to forget, and that I could never have had without leaping into this wide shimmering new life.
Window Reflection Self Portrait the Third!
If I hadn’t made the leap, I couldn’t have stepped off the plane in St George, Utah two mornings ago, and had the memory of a 4am alarm swept away by the stunning landscape and a hug from Mr S*.
Or, after a laughter-filled drive to Cedar City, curled up in bed for a nap, and then had Mr S present me with a pink bike so that we could ride to the grocery store together because he knows I can’t live without a steady supply of vegetables. (I hadn’t ridden a bike in twelve years, but it’s true what they say. Even with a few wobbles, you never forget.)
I want to remember riding a hot pink bike down a busy road that first afternoon, with a friend in front and the shining shadowed red-gold-green mountains of Utah surrounding me, feeling so joyful that I almost couldn’t breathe.
* Previously Mr Hiking in Utah, but that was too many letters and I’m on holiday, y’all.
How many people can say they’ve spent their first night in Utah (or any night anywhere) up in the mountains being led in stargazing by Shakespeare’s Falstaff, a fellow with both professional planetarium knowledge and a laser beam that can reach the sky?
How else could I have spent the witching hours on an air-mattress drinking in the endless glittering expanse of the Milky Way, and learning about Greek mythology, asterisms, and constellations, all whilst twenty musicians, actors, and techies gasped and cheered and heckled and laughed in the sparkling, shining, sparkling night?
How else could I have seen the glories of the Perseid meteor shower, and so many shooting stars that I lost count, shooting stars that were sometimes momentary flashes and sometimes soaring lights that left lasting glimmers in the sky?
I forgot to make any wishes on the shooting stars. Truly, though, what else could I have wished for?
If I hadn’t left Australia, I wouldn’t have arrived back at Mr S’s place at 2:30am after teaching Americans about drop bears and Canberra on the return from stargazing, fallen asleep, woken up at noon to cook breakfast, and then gone back to nap again because thunderstorms stole our sunbathing plans.
How else could I have spent the afternoon meeting new fabulous people, making Flaming Sambuca with coffee beans whilst watching Aladdin with our own commentary (Watch out, behind you! A sentient rug! / No monkey no, don’t touch that! / That rug has intimacy issues. / Tigers are so good at hugs. / The King is really a bit simple, isn’t he?), before joining a bundle of theatre folk and townies to play kickball for hours in the thunder-brewing dusk.
I want to always have the memory of Mr S cooking post-kickball Sunday dinner while I answered the dinner party’s questions about Australia. I want to remember six people sitting around a table with spoons in our hands and my jar of Biscoff Cookie Spread between us, all nodding at each other, wide-eyed:
Try it with the marshmallow peanut chocolate ice cream.
I want to remember talking and laughing and new faces and a different lifestyle and quiet moments and exhilaration and
most of all
I want to remember that,
in this moment,
I am perfectly, exquisitely, perfectly happy.