Under the Stars

By Scott Gressitt

 

StarryNightVanGoghThe summer of my sixteenth year, I was hitchhiking across West Texas. Texas seemed so big to a kid from New Jersey, that there was simply no reference point for its vastness anywhere in my vocabulary.

I was not moving in a hurry. As a matter of fact, whenever I saw a reason to stop, I would signal my driver, thank him for the lift, and get out to explore.

I was lonely that summer, crossing the country by myself, and my last ride of the day, one afternoon, put me at an empty crossroad in the middle of thousands of acres of soy beans. There was nothing in sight for miles but row after row of them.

There were hours of day left, but no cars on my seemingly godforsaken stretch of highway.

I stood for quite a while, squinting into the future, into the long angles of afternoon sun, wondering why God would have me there, at that particular spot. I had had countless conversations with him that summer about my solitary existence, wondering if, in fact, it was the best he had for me at that point in my life.

As the sun set and time passed, with a scampering jack rabbit and a circling buzzard the only signs of life, I resigned my position and prayed ,grudgingly, for a spirit of gratitude and acceptance.

The lower the red sun set in the dusty evening, the more lonely and abandoned I felt, questioning my choices, my lack of ambition or direction.

I retired my position to the god of the expansive universe and lit out down the road to the West, walking in the growing coolness of the evening.

The more I walked, the lonelier I felt.

I began to cry. I cursed my choices. I cursed my circumstances. I yelled at God, "What the fuck!"

Nothing came back.

The stars gradually arrived, my feet grew tired, I dithered off the road a few hundred feet into the soybeans and laid my blanket down between two infinitely long rows.

I sat down and, pulling off my boots, noticed the superabundance of stars becoming more and more visible, thanks to the absence of city lights. I lay back, wiped the tears from my eyes, and watched as the night sky blackened the canvas for the Great One as he displayed the majesty of his creation for me.

How wondrous was the swarm of stars everywhere I looked! I had never before seen them as I was then. Millions upon millions of jewels, sending their cool light, signaling me across the vastness of space, greeting me in a bean field in Texas.

Then I knew how much he loved me. He had led me to this spectacular moment in time and space, arranged perfectly, lovingly, just for me.

A wave of gratitude swept over me. I was no longer alone. My father was surrounding me with love, comforting me with beauty, amazing me with light and life.

The temperature, so perfect, I drifted off to sleep atop my blankets. But I was stirred to consciousness.

I opened my eyes in time to see a meteorite cross the night directly in my line of sight. It burned for two or three seconds and left the longest trail I had ever seen since.

I cried myself back to sleep with tears of joy.

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About Scott Gressitt

An amateur writer and rapscallion, I write of my past, a life laden with extraordinary events. I have walked in places most of the population avoids. Besides scars and bruises, I’ve collected experiences that frighten, delight and entertain. I write with the intent to take you on a wild ride where all your senses are fully engaged. Enjoy.

Image: Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh