“…..a star in the dark is thy glorious past…..”

Today I went back home to my Alma Mater for our Alumnae weekend events.  As I headed north and got on I-475, I was faced with a choice.  Take the exit that I used to take when I was a student there, the same one Mama took when she was a Wesleyanne, or I could go further north, take the next exit, and use the main road to get there.  I deliberated on this longer than you might think.  I am a backroads kind of girl, but the “old” way would take me past many ghosts from the past, and I wasn’t sure if I could handle that today or not. 

But I decided why not.  And so I went in the back way. 


I drove along the road

the same one I had traveled many

many times before

The ponds that are harder to see now,

that’s how my little brother learned to count

one pond, two ponds…..five ponds

on his way with Mama to her classes

While she learned he stayed at the little school

that is still there

The same road I drove back and forth for four years

with a heart filled with angst and dreams of love

(it seems to go with that age, doesn’t it?)

and a glimpse of a future beyond the campus where I learned

and grew and laughed and found


Sisters whom only grow more dear

to me

as I grow older


back then

I worried over this and that,

a bit uncomfortable with letting

anyone close enough

to know all I carried inside,

what must be so different

that they wouldn’t want to see

So I lived and loved but that isn’t me anymore,

not all me anyway

Maybe that’s why I worried over

going back and squeezing back into

who I was

back then

The thing I learned today

and I keep learning

with life and years and time

is that we all felt that way

about something

but the older we get

the more beautiful we all are

because we let the light from within

shine brightly

not hidden under a bushel of insecurities

and worries over being different

The light shines

and the laughter is a beautiful melodious song

as we share stories on the porches,

in the rocking chairs

that hold those stories dear

The stories we share and those of our sisters before us

and we hold close the knowing

that we are more alike than different–

and it doesn’t even matter anymore

We love, we listen, we laugh over

children and spouses and times gone by

and in the whisper of the breeze there is a

promise that the ghosts are gone now

and it is time to start again,

a mid-life adventure of sorts

Giving the grace that we offer others

so freely

we give also to ourselves

And as all the voices were raised in song,

singing the words sung by many before

and many after me

“Hail Wesleyan, thy emblem of all that is grand…..”

I looked up and the ceiling faded away

and there was a dark night sky

filled with stars and the voices lifted in song

Echoing in the cool night air

at my last time around the fountain

with those sisters

and I cried then over saying goodbye

and the not knowing what would come

Today there were tears

But different

Tears from laughter

of joy

of saying hello to my sisters

and hello to this peace in me

It was dark when I set out on the road

for the home where I lay my head

The stars were the same ones who

have watched over us from the beginning

And their light was bright

Just like mine



Love to all–go and let your light shine brightly.

One pond two ponds.....
One pond two ponds…..
The little school where my brother went while Mama was in class.
The little school where my brother went while Mama was in class.


Pulling into back campus.....
Pulling into back campus…..
Where we gather--here.....
Where we gather–here…..
and here.
and here.
The fountain where we cheered loudly and sang sweetly, late in the evenings after the twinkling stars came out to watch.
The fountain where we cheered loudly and sang sweetly, late in the evenings after the twinkling stars came out to watch.
Big hugs and many thanks to my friend Ashley who had us sing "This Little Light of Mine" and told us to let our light shine bright.  She shares her light at www.baddestmotherever.com Go love her.
Big hugs and many thanks to my friend Ashley who had all of us at the Alumnae meeting sing “This Little Light of Mine” and told us to let our light shine bright. She shares her light at http://www.baddestmotherever.com
Go love her.


9 thoughts on ““…..a star in the dark is thy glorious past…..””

  1. My breath caught in my chest a bit as I read your lovely post. I only (and in many ways, regrettably) spent a year at Wesleyan, but the majority of my very best college memories are from that very special time. My boys and I made an impromptu visit to campus during the summer of 2012. I literally could feel the ghosts of my past swirling around me as I strolled the familiar paths. The trip down memory lane was bittersweet; one cannot put a price on the value of perspective.

    1. Michelle, thank you. For reading, for sharing your story, and for your kind words. I am glad you have the good memories from your time at Wesleyan. The ghosts from our past do seem to be stronger in some places than in others, don’t they? I hope your trip down memory lane leaves you with more laughter than tears. Thanks again for sharing. Please come visit again. ❤

  2. When I came to your room for refuge “back in the day”, you always gave me strength and renewed my spirit. And once again, you have done it. Well said, as always.

    1. Girl, whatever you got you gave back ten thousand fold. From that very first day I saw you when I visited on PS Weekend, and you were waiting for your pizza in the date parlor in Persons to sharing stories yesterday, I knew you were and are someone beautiful inside and out with the gift of making those around you feel loved and filled with joy and laughter. I have always been lucky to have you as my Oenone. Thank you for reading and for taking time to share your sweet words. Just one question, have you found that bag? 😉 Love you.

  3. Dana- this is such an absolutely moving piece that so beautifully articulates the feelings and realizations that seem so prevalent in the life of a woman in her mid-thirties, especially those of us who were privileged enough to have receive a women’s college education. You’re right- that time in our lives seemed so filled with angst that very few or any of us really recognized our own inner light. Looking back, however, I know I saw the inner light of the young women around me even though I couldn’t yet see my own. I think that is why I will always feel connected with my college sisters because they were probably the first (besides my parents) to recognize my inner beauty and they remind me not of who I was but the potential I will always have to be an amazing women.

    1. Well said and beautifully put. Thank you for sharing your own story. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but you are right. I think my college sisters are likely, just as you say, the first ones who saw my inner beauty. (outside of my folks) Thank you for taking time to read and for making time to share your thoughts. That means so much to me. Please drop by again soon.

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