Love Letters to the Universe #1: The Milky Way Experience

22 Nov

Dear Universe,

Hello, it’s me, Travis. I’ve been thinking about our relationship lately. Now, wait, don’t get all torqued out of shape. I’m miles away from self-indulgent morosity, and I’m not about to quit on you. I turned the big four-o this year, so I’m far too stubborn and old for any of that horse pucky. I guess it comes down to the fact that I’ve realized it has been far too long since I checked in and really let you know how I feel about being here with you.

I’ve been frittering away the precious hours and minutes. I’ve been worrying myself sick over minutia. And most of all, I haven’t written, which is strange because… well, I love writing to you. It brings me joy. Why haven’t I written? I suppose I could list a thousand reasons, but to tell you the truth, none of them are really valid. The important thing is that I stopped doing the very thing that filled me with a sense of being connected.

Sure there was a lot of other benefits, too. There was the euphoria of having my first stories published and all the jigging and exclaiming and grinning like a fool. There is the soft magic hours where the words fly out of me and into you, like night-time whispers of love. There was the satisfaction of adding to that ongoing pot of recorded human speculation and fancy, of which I have sipped and gulped with such relish, and from which I have been succoured and fortified. But, most of all it was that sense of being connected, the understanding that I was was just where I needed to be, doing just what I was made to do.

You see, writing to me has always been an act of gratitude.  As I wrote, I recognized all the beauty these eyes have seen. As I wrote, I told stories that were reflections of this greater story in which I’ve been allowed to be a character. I’ve read the studies; gratitude equals happiness. Although, to tell true, the studies were just another reminder of a truth that I recognized, because it was unfolded to me many times by you. Just another thing for which to be grateful, another reason to be happy.

You’ve taught me so many things, and I’m a better person for it. You’ve sent so many people into my life, some a blessing, others a challenge, but all have perfectly made me who I am.

And who am I?

I’m a writer, kind of like you. I don’t always get what you’re always trying to tell me. But it is no fault in you as a writer. I don’t always see where you are going with weird plot twists such as chronically sick children or  tragic deaths of ex-girlfriends, but I still love the story. I still love you. In fact, you’ve inspired me to be who I am, and heck, imitation is the highest form of flattery, is it not?

You, the big story, taught me, the little story, that a story could write itself. So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do: take the story that is my life and tell it in the most graceful way I can. That’s what we’re all supposed to do, isn’t it?

You don’t have to answer. Sometimes, I just like asking questions. But, then you know that, don’t you?

Anyway, I am through with suffering the illusion that I could ever be alone. That’s the real reason I shirk writing to you. It’s just plain silly. Because when I write, I know you are listening. I’m just alone with you, and when that happens, who knows what kind of magic might ensue?

So, I’m going to keep on writing, sending my thoughts of love and gratitude out into the big beyond, which is you, my darling universe. I want to shout out the sparkling wisdom that I’ve been lucky enough to find, wallowing around like some boy in waders at the world’s shore, just looking for something to catch my curious eye.

Like the truth you taught me so long ago when I was such a confused and depressed young man, out on a spring evening with a group of friends.

How the stars shone, all pearlescent beauty against the plum dark night! How I studied their majesty with a sense of awe. Then when I least expected it, the world changed. The stars no longer resembled a dusting of light against the bowl of the sky. A great depth opened up above me. For one spinning moment I could not tell if I was looking up, out or down into the fiery wheel of the Milky Way. For that moment I saw the sky in three dimensions, and the feeling the view gave me held.

My stomach rose in a fluttery glee. I saw then what I had missed so many, many times before. The Milky Way was a wheel after all, a ferris wheel, on which we rode, from birth until we shuffled off to make room for the next folks who had realized that taking a ride on such a contraption was just the thing their spirit needed.

That was it. Life was just a ride. All the meadow muffins and road apples I had been obsessed over (and often taught to be obsessed over by many of the oh-so-serious fellow passengers) was just that: bullshit and horseshit. Life was a ride! I whooped with joy and went spinning off to bed that night anxious to awaken again in the morning to see what glories the ride would reveal to me on the morrow.

Since then, I sometimes forget. I don’t forget as often as I used to. That is one strange aspect to the ride. The more your back starts to ache, and your knees pop, ironically the more sure your spirit becomes.

But, even when this happens, you send other folks to remind us. Like that funny guy: Bill Hicks.

When I watched him remind others about how life was just a ride, I knew it as the truth. I also knew that I wanted, if I could, to help remind others. I suppose that’s why I became a teacher, why I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Except now, I’m done with wanting. I’m more into being now.

So, I’m going to keep doing what brings me joy. I’m going to write stories, record the little and big thoughts I’m given here, and enjoy the ride.

I’d like to leave you with a thought. Imagine if every hairless, tailless monkey on the planet got up and went out and looked up into that shining wheel on which we ride, and they all raised their hands and let out a little whoop of joy. Maybe for a minute they wouldn’t feel alone, maybe for a minute they would forget about the things that wear them down and turn them against each other. Maybe when they would turn back to their homes and their beds they would do so with the deep commitment to make their ride as joyful for themselves and their fellow hairless and tailless monkeys as they possibly could.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Love and Peace,



One Response to “Love Letters to the Universe #1: The Milky Way Experience”

  1. Ryan November 27, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Simple and complex and true. I too forget and remember, forget, and remember again. Like night and day and like winter and summer solstice. Thanks for reminding me. Oh, and I love the image of the boy in waders. I see him. I know him. I’ve been him. And I will be him again. Again, thanks.

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