In a world where what matters most to me can be torn asunder in moments, seeing an old friend right where I remember her gives me reason to smile.


When I was younger, I used to climb out on the back roof and watch the stars rising into the night sky as sunset retreated slowly into the west. A wall of trees, crowned by a towering willow, framed the sky, and this was the place where I found quiet and solace — not to think, but to stop thinking.


Many people tell me I think too much, and it’s true… Especially when events around me unsettle my life, I’m guilty of allowing my thoughts to cluster around my troubles. But in the past few days, my mind’s been eerily quiet.

Still, I’ve been drawn to walking quietly by myself, especially at dusk; and tonight I found myself a spot under a tree in North Boulder Park to watch the last blues of sunset fading over the Rockies and to welcome in the night and the stars.

Maybe it seems odd to look to the heavens for grounding, but there’s something calming about looking up to see the twinkling points of the constellations I know. 20 years ago and thousands of miles away, the Dipper sat atop the night sky just as it did to me tonight.

In a world where what matters most to me can be torn asunder in moments, seeing an old friend right where I remember her gives me reason to smile.

So I listened to the voices of people at play in the distance, watched the dance of headlights from passing cars glide across the grass. I counted the stars appearing as the veil of day inched slowly back behind the foothills of the Rockies, its last protests dim flashes of lightning from behind the shadows of the hills. Not thinking, just being. Another old friend of mine: feeling settled within myself and within my world.

At the end of August, I’ll probably be saying goodbye to the mountains and to the time I’ve spent in Boulder, though my attention remains fixed on something sooner, a crossroads beyond which I don’t know my future.

And it isn’t that I don’t love the place, or the memories I have of being here, but through my own actions, intentional and unintentional, I’ve slowly severed the ties that bind me here. Now, I find myself ready to return to old friends, the people and the places whose faces I can close my eyes and recall. The stars tonight remind me they will always be there, even when I cannot see them.

I’ve always been drawn to my own solitude, but occasionally someone comes into my life who teases me out. Occasionally someone enters my world and I’m compelled to let them in deeper, and to leap headfirst into theirs.

I wish, for my own sanity, that I understood this process better; I find myself in territory all-too-familiar and yet without bearing — the terrain foreign and changed, both exciting and terrifying at the same time. My family and friends often don’t understand why I venture here in these strange lands, but if I understood it myself they’d be the first to hear my explanation.

Passion, inspiration, life, challenge, growth, love – these are the gifts I’m given by those my loved ones consider – from the outside, in hindsight – my mistakes, my lapses in judgment. I may not have the words to describe the why, but when I fall in love, there are a thousand wonderful reasons that I cast myself headlong into that dangerous territory. It’s easy to see the faults from outside, not so easy to see the intimate joys, both profound and mundane, that two people can share.

But love can be a powerfully unsettling feeling. It twists our sense of present and future around; it yanks us out of our well-laid plans and asks us to reconsider, especially when it begins and ends.

So tonight I spent some time with some old friends, watched them take their place in the deep blue sky over Boulder, & they whispered to me:

Changes may be coming for you, but we’re always here.

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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  1. I think too much, too. The only time I don’t is when I’m deep in union with someone else—which has been too rare a thing. I’ve come to accept that my brain will never really be quiet. Sometimes, I even think it’s a good thing.


  2. Very nicely written, Jake. I think you should pursue writting as a career and get away from the technically violent computer vortex.