The things that inspire us are where our dreams first get their spark. Be it a blinding flash of inspiration or a long slow building of ideas, our dreams take form from depths of our passions and loves. This month I will talk about some of the ways I am inspired. Where my stories and ideas come from is not just a single source but from a myriad of different mediums. What inspires you? What makes you dream big, impossible dreams?
It was the middle of summer, yet the night air in the Adirondack Mountains managed to drop near freezing. I was huddled together with a group of other scouts at the top of a small mountain, our sleeping bags and sweatshirts clutched tight for warmth. We did not go out there on a dare or on a lark. There is a clearing of trees far from the light pollution of the cities I feel absolutely in love with the sky. It wasn’t a perfectly clear night but between the clouds, I could see an ocean of stars, as well as ethereal puffy cloud band crossing the sky. It was my first time seeing the milky way, our own galaxy. I spent much of the night in silence, staring up in wonder at an endless number of stars. My place not just in the world, but in the universe in flux. The night sky has always been a special place for me, there across vast distances of space is where dreams are born.
I have always had a fascination with nature, God’s handiwork as it were. I excelled in natural sciences (except geology, go figure) as a growing youth. Since I was a wee little tot, I have been fascinated with biology, with DNA, thunderstorms, wildlife, and dinosaurs, and space. It was the sky, a vast, never-ending, constantly changing canopy, that always seemed to draw my attention. The brilliant blue skies, fiery sunsets and vast fields of stars almost always catch my attention. Summer afternoons were spent climbing trees or staring up at the clouds. My friends and I making up funny stories from the shapes we found. The night sky was a cornucopia of wishes, a treasure trove of stars, planets and far-off galaxies, there was no better playground for me to wander through.
Looking out my window today, I see that same great big sky and it instills that same sense of wonder. When I run into a creative wall while writing one of my stories my first instinct is to look up and imagine. It was in the sky that I found an escape from the stress, dysphoria, and the pains of living a lonely half life. In my most painful moments, the stars were there for me to cry out to. As I achieved my dreams I would look to that endless horizon of possibilities and laugh, and smile, and twirl. Under the watch of the night sky I have created many stories, under a sea of stars my friends and I speak of loves lost and dream of better days yet to come. Though many of my friends and family are scattered across the globe, I look at the sky and I know that no matter how far apart we all are, we can all look up and still see the same stars.*
The stars inspire much within my heat, a longing for adventure, a desire to know the unknowable. It stirs my imagination in ways that I cannot fully put into words. Worlds unexplored. Unearthly beauty created from chaos and violence. A single point of light in a vast darkness that shines brightest when joined by a multitude. That is what I think about when I look up at the sky and fall silent. What lies out there? In all of that vastness, in all of that space? I cannot know, but I can imagine, I can dream.
*Yes, I know it’s not exactly the same stars. Shh. Romance is happening.