Tonight, after a more low-key version of last night's punishing workout at the hands (so to speak) of the treadmill, its terrible speeds and its dangerous incline feature, I went over to the pool area and lay down on one of the lounge chairs there. Looking up at the stars and airplane lights, I was aware of a peace and a deep longing, locked together, co-existing in a bittersweet sort of fashion. I thought about how, the summer I was fourteen, I would lay in the backyard late at night, alone, and look up at the stars. The concrete would be cool on the surface, but just below it was still warm from the heat of the day. Feeling small, the reverse of a silhouette against the vast darkness with its pinpricks of light, somehow made me feel safe and brave. Miniscule, yet meaningful.
So it was tonight. Several crickets were out; stars glittered; airplanes crossed the sky. A powerful wanderlust rose up in me. I envied the people in those airplanes. I recalled with startling clarity the way I used to feel as a child, watching from the sky as Los Angeles grew smaller, as our destination approached. Different bodies of water, different lights, different ways of landing. I pretended to be so blase about it, even at eight, nine, ten years old; the truth is, it always thrilled me and it still does. The possibilities seemed endless and gorgeous. Clean slates, fresh starts.
As I lay there a strange thought came to me; a strange image, rather: one of me looking up at the night sky at age nine, ten, fourteen, seventeen, twenty-one, and so on, until tonight; and of gazing back down at myself in a tesseract, all of those ages simultaneously. Time is relative, after all. We take that for granted or simply don't bother to think of it. But it doesn't mean much, if anything. We don't change much at all, do we? For better or for worse, we don't change much at all.