02 January 2012 By Rachel’s

Wishing on Stars

When I was little my first memories are not where I was born. Ironically Cottonwood hospital in Murray, Utah was not only my birth place, but also where I almost died in May, 2001 due to a head injury… Luckily that hospital is now closed.  I will never visit there again!  My first memories were not in Alaska where my family moved when I was one, or St. George, Utah which I to this day claim as my home town.

When I was three my family moved to Fairview, Utah. A tiny town in the middle of no where.  I still love visiting there. This is where my first childhood memories lie.  I like to visit my elementary school, which is so very tiny to me now. Back then it was the place where I beat all of the boys running impromptu foot races, I was the only kindergartener brave enough to go down the gigantic (probably illegal by now) metal slide.  I was princess of tricks on the monkey bars, and a queen kissing tag participant. Hmmm… I still wonder why I have always to this day had this urge and need to win? For some reason it is a huge part of the core of who I am.

I remember in kindergarten I was supposed to dress up like a Christmas bear for a school play.  This was after I begged to be Mrs Claus and my teacher gave the role to someone else.  I was determined to be the “star” anyway.  I couldn’t find a bear costume. Instead I dressed up like a dog (yes I love those creatures) and proudly sang the song, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” to my entire school and their parents. Back then I didn’t know I shouldn’t sing in public…. but I thought I was the best there ever was.  I love that! That song to this day is one of two Christmas songs I still enjoy.  I laugh every time I hear it but until now, never told anyone why.

I lived in a cute little red brick home my dad built, right next to school. We had a cocker spaniel, Tilley.  When she had puppies I decided I had to bring ALL of them to school for show and tell. My mom told me no.  Ok. I simply sneaked home (of course without telling my teacher) and dragged a big box full of all of them, sans an upset four legged mother, across a grassy field to my classroom when my poor mom wasn’t paying attention. I’m sure looking back it brought delight to my classmates and horror to my teacher.  I still refuse to take “no” for an answer.

I mostly remember my dog, Nimbus.  I don’t remember not having him. I recall watching my little white mutt lapping his water from a dirty metal bowl. As soon as his turn was over, I would follow suit. I wanted to be just like him. I remember screaming in pain from his bites when I squashed him too hard with hugs, gave him his despised baths, or played too roughly. I was never smart enough to figure out why I received broken skin by way of his razor teeth almost daily. I still cry thinking of the day he died. I was six. He lived to chase cars up our gravel road. I fondly called it the Fairview bumpy road. It is the same road I annihilated the exterior of my left knee in my first bike crash.  That one I am certain appalled my ballet teachers. I sport a strange little scar that remains from it.  I witnessed the death of my best friend when a big truck with a horse trailer hit him. He died instantly. To this day I have never felt so helpless or cried so hard.

Up until then, I had always wished on the stars. Sure back then I also prayed to God as my Mother instructed.  It never felt real. But being the obedient child (in a few superficial ways) I would say my prayers quickly before bed or a meal.  But, what I’ve always felt connected to was nature. Especially the clear night skies.  In Fairview we lived at a relatively high elevation. It being a dark tiny town, every cloudless night I could gaze up and see this amazing galaxy of tiny dots.  I would find my favorite bright star each night and send my wish.

I believed with all my heart the stars were there for me. Until my dear Nimbus passed away, my wish was always the same. “Please watch over my Daddy while he works out of town. Bring him home soon so he can play with me”.  When Nimbus died, I began wishing for him as well. I begged the stars to take care of him since I couldn’t anymore.  By Nimbus dying, I learned to asked the stars for all I dreamed.  I continue to trust the stars more than any God.  It is just my way.

Even now I rely on my wishes on the stars. Living in Salt Lake City (aka the 801), I often get very blue in the winter. When inversions happen and smog crowds the sun and stars from my sight I feel lost.  It is as though the blanket of filth blocks the beautiful energy from giving me my life force. I feel let down, unprotected and sad.  The outwardly happy me shuts down fast and I struggle deeply.

This winter we experienced the driest December on record.  The greatest snow on Earth? At the moment, not so much… in the 801 we had some inversions which normally would have left me dismal. It can be so easy to forget that there is lovely sunshine nearby. Looking up, it is easy to think there is nothing else.  Forgotten by the sun and stars I fall apart.  Not this year.

I feel so fortunate that one of my dearest friends had the insight to get me out. He reminded me that the sun and warmer moments were right there. We simply had to look beyond the muck. He took me to Park City 6 times in 8 days, which is just a 20 minute drive away. We  rode bikes and laughed and played in the cold, heartwarming sun.  I was lucky enough on a couple of these days to be up there until dark (yes one day I near froze to death, but luckily a hot shower thawed me out). There I secretly talked to the stars and created my wishes in my heart.  I feel so lucky!

In continuing that luck, the sunny days in the 801 the last week have been glorious. With my work being as it is, I’ve been granted the opportunity to ride my bike in sun on many incredibly gorgeous days. Sometimes alone, but often with my new team or with just a friend or two.

It has been very difficult for me to transition from running all over the nation to switching back to my bikes.  But everything that happened last year has pointed back to my bicycles. When I had the head injury in 2001 and ended up with a traumatic brain injury from it, my road bicycle racing days ended for the most part. I am still recovering from that accident as my brain has healed slowly, but I know the opportunity to race again is my life’s way of bringing everything that much closer to full circle. Finally years later life is creating what I wanted long ago. It is exciting!  I know that if it is right, running will come back to me again too.

Today was New Years day. I spent the early morning with my adorable son, Canyon.  Late morning I took him to hang out with his dad and I left for a gorgeous 4 hour team ride full of sunshine. After I was finished I’ve been home alone with my thoughts and dreams. Even though it is cold, the night is clear and perfect. I can’t see all of the stars I know are there. City lights….. not my favorite. But the half moon and the stars I see I wished on and dreamed until my bare feet and face started to freeze.

I am looking forward to an amazing 2012.  I am remembering to trust and live my life to its fullest.  I am going to show a part of my Self that I have not seen for a very long time.  It feels amazing to finally let go of some of my fears and find freedom in a way I haven’t experienced for a very long time.


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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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