It was just after sunset on the night of my official move-in day. Full of anxious excitement about having my own place, and with most of my studio equipment still in boxes, I wondered what to do with myself. Stepping outside that night in the brisk cold of December in the Yosemite mountains to enjoy the rare occasion of a cigarette, I froze at the sight of two things.
The first came as I lit the cigarette, took a drag, and looked up at the night sky. Stars. Everywhere. As my eyes adjusted, more and more white speckles of light would appear out of the darkness. I had become so used to light pollution back home blocking out all but the brightest stars, that I had almost forgotten just how much light there really is out there when you're looking from the right place.
Ash from the cigarette landed on my boot and snapped me out of a trance. I had been standing in that spot longer than I thought, thinking about all the stars I had forgotten about. I shook off the ash, took another drag, and looked down at the controlled chaos between my fingers. The orange glow held my attention for a minute as I contemplated what led me to pull out a cigarette on this night. Before putting it out, I held up what remained of my tiny beacon of light against the night sky, as it took its place among the ever growing number of stars.
As I turned to head back to the turquoise-colored cabin, I froze again. On either side of the front door, there were two lights, each swarmed by the relentless, fluttering wings of moths. Dazed in another trance, I watched as they violently smashed their bodies into the glass. More and more grey blots appeared against the brightness, as the sound of clicks and thuds matched the ever growing number of ashy wing prints speckling the light.