I sat on the porch with my skeletons tonight. It wasn’t that different from any other night, really only tonight I listened to them when they talked to me. I heard their side of the stories I’ve lived. I asked them why it is that I always throw them out in the street to either act as a distraction or get run over before I ever really let people in, and I listened to their answers even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

The moon drifted in and out of the passing clouds, almost full, but Arcturus still made an appearance in the western night sky. The citronella candle flickered on the porch, more for light and comfort tonight as the cool breeze and dropping humidity ushered the bugs away as if the past two days of swampy existence almost never happened. There was a faint smell of campfire smoke coming from the campgrounds over the hill as summer campers sat out under the stars in the place that I live marveling at the sky. And I realized that’s just another thing I have to be grateful for.

I live in a place where the smell of campfire smoke drifts among the forest over the mountains on the cool mountain breeze on any given summer night. This place most people vacation – this is home to me. This is home.

It’s amazing what we’ll learn when we just sit still. The hummingbirds telling me that they like the fresh flowers in the garden more than the feeder I put out for them. The fisher cats and foxes screaming next door arguing over territory and who gets to feed their young first. The coyotes howling over the hill on the other side of the pond, knowing they can’t come too close or our dogs and mule will sound the alarm. Fireflies flickering until the air gets too heavy or too cool for them to enjoy and then they just hunker down until the next night to share their lights again. All of this everyday magic everywhere I look, all while sitting on my front porch talking to my skeletons and learning how to become a better person.

The dogs bark at the nothing in the distance just over the treeline and I laugh at their insistence that there IS something in the nothing across the street. Maybe they’re right, but no matter. They’re only right about half the time anyway. They’re not hunting or guard dogs, after all. Just regular pets, a part of the family with something to say so long as we’ll all listen and I love them for it.

I used to wonder what life would be like if things had been different. If I had made different choices, or done things differently but recently I’ve stopped that. My skeletons are still here to remind me in case I forget, but these days they’re more about the conversation and learning together how I can let them rest, take the best parts of what I’ve learned and move on. Forward is always a better direction than stagnant, and backwards is never a way life wants us to go even when we may feel otherwise. I’m learning that more and more these days, and that’s part of why even on the days I feel like it’s impossible to see the next step, I keep putting one foot in front of the other and have the faith to believe that I will always land on solid ground.

I do. Thank you.

It’s funny how we can plan and think and anticipate, and even drive ourselves crazy doing so – my father most certainly did and I’ve walked that fine line most of my life. But the Universe seems to always have other plans for us, regardless of what we think or anticipate or try to map out before it ever happens. Life never quite happens the way we plan, but that’s what makes it so beautiful. There’s always something new around the corner, around the next turn, the next sunrise, the next daybreak, the next nightfall. There’s magic everywhere if we believe in it.

I do.

Shooting stars are common here, as if the magic in the skies transformed right from the back of the lightening bug’s body into the night sky above seamlessly from the treetops to the horizon and everything beyond. The occasional plane flies overhead looking to weave in and out of the Milky Way but I know that it’s just my depth perception and the twinkling stars of our galaxy’s widest band overhead in the country bending light as it travels through space and time to reach here. There’s so much more ahead.

In troubled times, I refuse to believe the worst in the world. There is still so much good in people and I see it every day. I see it in the people around me. In how my kid helps her friends. How my other kid is such a role model for those around him. How new people I meet connect with other people I know and there’s a synergy there that blends the lines between work and friendship in all the best ways that makes loving my job and my life all that much easier. I am so incredibly blessed and so incredibly grateful.

I’ll leave you with this. The moon is almost full and my skeletons are almost out of stories for tonight. They’re still out here, dancing in the moonlight for everyone to see – because they know if you see them first and still want to get to know me, that you are genuine and that’s all that we ask these days. Genuine people. Laughs that make your abs hurt. Smiles that form creases in the corner of your mouth bringing out your dimples and that twinkle in your eye. The magic as the campfire dances around our faces and we toast to days gone by, days like today, and oh so many more days to come. Real friends. Real experiences. Real life. Skeletons included, because they never scared us anyway and besides, it’s almost October…


Cj Millar #bkawk parksville ny