I am lying on my back on Surf Drive Beach. To my right, the sky is striped. Orange sky, gray clouds, yellow sky, gray clouds, blue sky, gray clouds, dark blue. To my left, warm lights from homes stretch in an arc across the horizon. A green beacon flashes every few seconds. In front of me, the sea gently licks a rock. Above me, tiny white sparkles emerge.
"I lay my head onto the sand
The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it...
And in this moment, I am happy, happy"
- "Wish you were here" by Incubus
I am lying on my back on Surf Drive Beach. I think of my friends and family far away, wishing they could see these stars. I think about how blessed I am to have such a solid family rooted in the Midwest. I think about the branches of my network across the world, running like vines on multiple continents. They form a tangled web, and I fall on them like an acrobat in a net.
"We will wars undo
Make the oceans blue
Paint the heavens with stars
And I won't let it out of my heart
No we won't let this world fall apart"
- "Theory of everything" by Amaranthe
I am lying on my back on Surf Drive Beach, looking up at the stars. It's a little hard for me to believe I'm a post-doc; the term seems oversized. But here I am. I think about the students gone before me with whom I am now a peer. I think about the community I left behind in Oregon and how quickly time passes.
"I lie under starlit sky
And the seasons change in the blink of an eye
I watch as the planets turn
And the old stars die and the young stars burn"
- "Lonesome dreams" by Lord Huron
I am lying on my back on Surf Drive Beach, looking up at the stars. Of all the places in the world where I could have gone as a post-doc, I landed here. I landed at an institute where I am welcomed and embraced and supported. I landed in a hotbed of innovation with a positive culture and a drive for greatness. I landed in an institute that gets me. I know there's a plan for my life, a broad-brush scheme that I experience pixel by pixel, and being here is part of it.
"I lay here under the stars
In awe of who you are
You've never been so real
I'll never understand it fully
Lost here in your beauty
No words can say how I feel"
- "Seeing for the first time" by Britt Nicole
I am lying on my back on Surf Drive Beach, looking up at the stars. Of all the places in the world where I could have moved, I landed here. I landed in a community that is at once clean, classy, and comfortable. I landed in a place that enthralls me - like the first time I saw Switzerland in 2008. I landed where there are waterfront views everywhere - like in Germany. I landed where the wind and the waves work together and I bicycle my way through it all - like Norway. I landed where the people are warm and genuine - like Michigan. I landed where the cold energizes me - like Svalbard. I have never felt so immediately at home in a location, and yet I still feel that I am on an adventure. My restless heart is calm. I am so incredibly blessed.
"If you can calm the raging sea
Then you can calm the storm in me
You're never too far away
You never show up too late
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars"
- "Stars" by Skillet