Company of Stars

I am here, at the crack of dawn, doing this thing.  

It is simply deciding, choosing.

To set the alarm, 

Get out of bed, 

Sit down with pen and paper, 

To be here, doing this thing.

The coffee is brewed, the cat fed, the phone off.  

I am here in the company of strangers, in the new year, 

Doing this thing.

Writing.

But this is new, like the first day of school, 

For an old gal like me.

First day of school, 

Worrying if they will like me. If they will be my friends. 

Already formed friendships, 

Whispers follow like dust, blowing,

As I step in.  

First day of school, head held high, lunch held tight, pen and paper in hand. 

Are there snacks I can share, approval I can barter? 

We sit in a circle. 

I don’t speak yet, shyly checking out the room, the faces, 

Looking for a smile, an acceptance, an invitation to join.  

It is already clear, the alpha, the beta, so young and already established.  So, I stand at the edge, not sure where to sit.

All senses alert.

This is how we learn to survive, 

The silent conversation that buzzes just beyond hearing, 

The review, the regard, 

The pecking order so clearly defined.

It is primal, subliminal, 

This checking out, judging, sliding into the pigeonhole.

Will I be accepted?

But this is not first grade, and I am not 5 years old.

The threshold I am stepping over is for me, only me.

The others in the circle, fellow travelers.

There is no leader of pack I must bow to.  

No role I must play.

This practice is for me alone, 

Though I am in the company of stars.

Each of us flowing along on our paths, making our own discoveries,

Alone, and yet comforted.

This time there is no need to prove, 

No need to push, 

No need to impress or beg for acceptance.  

This time I have decided there will be no expectations, no plot points, 

It is simply beginning this next phase of training.  

Like music, like stretching, like cooking.

I am here, stepping inside the doorway, over the threshold, 

Saying yes to desire, 

Yes, to longing, 

Yes, to the need to write.

The only requirement is to be here, pen to paper. 

I am ready, more than ready, 

To embrace this precious thing.

Alone, yet comforted,

In the company of stars.

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