Living here, in this breath away from everywhere, has enabled me to see where I came from most clearly. I wasn’t here for longer than a week before I noticed it. It wasn’t until I left it that I noticed it. For the last two decades I had lived in two of the largest urban centers in California: San Francisco & Los Angeles, and every night for the last two decades had ben absolutely the same.
Every night for two decades was constant. Over my head had loomed the same navy blue ceiling, punctuated by the same 13 stars viewed through the same sheer curtain of neutral orange. The color created by halogen street lamps casting a diffuse light through a constant presence of urban emissions. Every night the sounds of the evening balanced out by the same constant white noise of traffic, which would work its way through any wall or door. This had been my bubble for two decades.
One week after moving here, I was surprised every evening. There were nights which were shockingly dark. The skies filled with thick fall atmosphere blotting out every light of the heavens. Stepping outside was like stepping into a deep closet, without sign or mark of sky or earth, except for an orange smear on the horizon where Paso Robles slept.
The next night, the land and sky glowed. The full moon lofting over the horizon like a second sun. Marking every pebble, blade, and leaf in sharp outline of cerulean blues and grays.
The next, with the moon hiding below the line of the hills, the land was charcoal grey, not that I could notice it. Because above me was a salt spill of stars cascading down the ark of the heavens. Each minute sun sending a single arrow of light to strike only the most essential forms of the earth below.
Then the next, and the next after that, each night a different dance of light, and then there were the sounds…