I remember driving across the country with my parents as a kid. No journey was complete without a pile of books and a bag of Reeses Pieces. My shelves still hold books I carried on our journeys. You can tell them apart from the others by the chocolate stains on their pages. Often, the worst part of a day of driving was dusk and the night that followed. I would hold my book angled up to the window, my cheek and forehead pressed against the glass, trying to capture the suns' last light on just one more page. And then it was dark and the story was lost to me until the next day. Inevitably, the delay had come just before Nancy found the clock or Anna left for the train station or Darcy and Elizabeth went for a walk. The suspense was more than any young girl should have to survive. If I was lucky, nightfall didn't reach us until we had driven away from the glow of cars and homes and streetlights. And then oh the waiting stars. On nights like that I didn't begrudge the evening my unfinished chapters. I would lean against the window once more, my breath fogging against the pinpoints of light. In some places, when the world was just quiet enough and the night just black enough it seemed the stars very nearly touched the ground. In that moment their blazing world of light, distance and glory and my uncertain world of forgotten homework, nervous laughter and hope were close enough to touch.
And for just an instant, I felt very grand indeed.