You know that feeling when something incredible just happened? The sudden rush of blood throughout your entire body? There have been multiple times in my life where I've felt this exhilaration. The tingling remains in your veins for a while after that one sudden rush occurs and you feel invincible. Nothing can spoil that moment for you.
These flashes of emotion usually come to me in the middle of the woods or at the edge of a coastline. This time, it was on a beach outside a tiny research center on the baby island of Little Cayman. I had felt this feeling one year prior on the South Island of New Zealand, but I was now with new friends and under a different sky. Instead of a Maori meeting house, I was two feet from the water, my toes dug deep beneath the icy sand. I was surrounded by Sargassum and shells of all kinds. Coral fragments lined my salt encrusted beach towel. Looking up, once again, at the blackness most humans shy away from, a sense of freedom filled my bones, instead of the usual fright associated with that time of night.
Darkness is nothing to be afraid of, it's something that envelops your entire being. You're forced to feel your surroundings. Details were blurred except for the shining lights of the constellations above, each one brighter than the next. My eyes floated to Orion's Belt, the alignment of stars I felt the most connected to. Under the New Zealand sky, it was opposite of how it looked the night on the shores of Little Cayman, but still connected all the same. In fact, all stars are connected. Find the end of one and you've just discovered the beginning to another. Beautiful, isn't it?
The fish hook I found straight ahead of me was really the Big Dipper, but flipped around. The end of that pointed to Polaris, which started Ursa Minor and so on and so on. What lies beyond our atmosphere is fascinating and complex. Everything in this universe and the next and the next are all SO complex!
I closed my eyes and blocked out the only light around me. I focused on the laughs of those by my side and the rush of the waves hitting my feet. The air was salty and the wind wet and warm. My body tingled, a smile came across my face and I whispered: I'm never leaving this island.