I unfurl my mat on a patch of grass of my backyard under pressing dusk. I’m making an effort to do more activities that nourish me and realize I’ve gotten out of the habit of a physical asana practice. My body asks for backbends and I am happy to oblige, turning my gaze up at the swiftly shifting sky as I breath and move stagnant muscles. Seagulls fall sideways, glazing effortlessly in currents above. Just before savasana, the first two stars poke through the blanket of light that is the sky, blazing courageously. I love watching the stars come out after sunset. I love seeing the sky transformed by Divine Mother’s jewels.
To celebrate what would have been my tenth wedding anniversary, I’m taking myself to a yoga retreat centre this weekend. The retreat I’ll be participating in is centered on kirtan and cooking—something I love and something I want to learn how to prioritize in my life. I’m going to spend time reflecting on that part of my history and the lessons I’ve learned.
Whenever I think of my marriage, I invariably think about its end. I remember the first few weeks of separation, borrowing my brother’s car and going on trips alone. It was the first time I did things like that by myself. Day hikes in Waterton’s Rocky Mountains, camping in the sacred Writing-on-Stone Park—I was learning about the person I was on my own and what it was like to spend time with her.
One evening on the sandy shore of the Milk River, I lay down on my back and looked up at the sky. Light blue faded to dark as the water churned swiftly beyond my feet. It started small; I saw one or two stars popping out and eventually began looking for more. Soon stars in the shapes of familiar constellations formed. I saw blinking flashes making up the Big Dipper, and by the time my eyes searched for Cassiopeia and came back, each star of the Bear was shining bright. I looked for more. They came. I couldn’t count them all.
It wasn’t even spring, it was cold and too early for camping. I slept in the car wrapped in blankets, doing my best to keep out the chill that invades a body still learning to sleep with only its own warmth.
I remember the space of those trips. I remember how the silence made a soft bed for my thoughts to rest in. I’d finally spoken what I’d needed so much to be spoken—I was alone, left with my confused mix of grief and relief, and could be quiet now.
Maybe those trips hinted a foreshadowing that I could not yet see, that one day I would know myself enough and fill with the courage to move across the country alone, and eventually another hemisphere. Maybe they were like stars revealing themselves after dusk.
I cut my savasana short amid an orchestra of buzzing mosquitos. Not everything that comes out after dusk is as awe-inspiring as the stars.
I’m excited to see what comes of the weekend, if only to sing kirtan, eat great food and spend time with amazing people.