I listen to a lot of podcasts when I drive lately. My patience for the radio is low - the same songs over and over again. My drive home coincides with the local top 40 station making a dance mix of everything for an hour and I can't stand it, so… podcasts.
It started with the podcast of some friends of mine. Then Serial. Then other things. Some are great, some are…less great. It takes up time, makes the drive easier.
I recently started listening to NPR's "All Songs Considered." In college, I loved how I was always able to find new music - I loved being ahead of the curve, to have a library full of more than just what got radio play. "All Songs Considered" is giving that back to me - and it's ultimately going to end up costing me a fortune in iTunes downloads.
I was driving home from my daughter's gym meet. It was dusk when I pulled out of the parking garage. I'd have been on the road sooner but the garage attendant insisted on collecting everyone's parking ticket as they departed. I had hoped to be on the road sooner.
Twisty roads, "All Songs Considered," and a new song - Gacha and "Waterfalls."
My eyes scanned the sky - and nothing.
Darkness. Darkness. Darkness.
As I drove, my eyes would periodically shift towards the sky - looking for something, anything. And yet… nothing.
Agitated. Scared. On the edge of tears.
Well, maybe it was just cloudy.
You see, when I went in for my doctor's appointment in Ann Arbor, one of the questions they asked me was, "Can you see the stars?"
"When it's not cloudy," I responded. But as I drove Friday night I realized: I can't remember the last time I noticed the stars. Was it because I've just not noticed or because they weren't there for me anymore?
By the time I pulled into my garage, I was eager to run into the house, throw down my purse and race to my back deck to look out. Well. I couldn't see the moon either. I know I've been able to see the moon, lately.
How relieved was I - when I finally got the nerve to ask - to find that there were no stars to see, it was too cloudy?
I've tried not to read much about retinitis pigmentosa - mostly because it all terrifies me. One of the things I've read several times is that so many people can no longer see the stars. Can you imagine the night sky above you - a dark, blank canvas?
As I stared into the sky Friday evening, I was wracked with fear - Is this how it's going to be? and Did I lose the stars and not even notice?
We went out to dinner Saturday night. Chris and I tried a new-ish taqueria in Grand Rapids. Margaritas, chips loaded with queso, pork belly tacos. We chased dinner with handmade ice cream from a local creamery (vegan ice cream? What is it made of?).
When darkness fell, i looked up. I saw nothing.
"Are there stars?" I asked him.
He scanned the sky, "Not much. Just one." He pointed.
I tipped my face upward to where he gestured.
The stars aren't gone for me. Not yet. I saw it. And I've been looking ever since.
I can still see them and I will keep noticing them and I will keep counting my blessings that they're still there shining on me.
I hope to never stop seeing them.