“Whatever is a reality today, whatever you touch and believe in and that seems real for you today, is going to be — like the reality of yesterday — an illusion.”

— Luigi Pirandello

Last night I sat outside my motel room in Wildwood, NJ, listening to the sounds of the other visitors, watching the flashing lights of the boardwalk, and trying to imagine how I landed in this world of neon and noise.  I struggled to take it all in, feeling over-stimulated and distracted and unable to focus on any single sight without being grabbed by the next flashing display.  I am a small-town girl at heart, and the lights of the city always have struck me as intrusive rather than exciting; but life in a resort town feels downright painful as I sit and try to see anything real beyond the glittering surface.

In the midst of it all, I tried to remember home — to remember the simple tasks that made up yesterday in a far quieter world.  What I discovered was that I could remember the events of the day but no longer could really embrace it all.  It was as though all my prior reality had slipped into the mist.  My only reality was the neon-lit one where I sat, watching a sign across the street flash, “STARDUST!”  “STARDUST!”  “STARDUST!”  It had absolutely no resemblance to the stardust I watch when I gaze toward the night sky in my own back yard; but that was yesterday.  Today the sky looks black and starless, and I have been plunked down in a world of artificial light.  I hardly feel quite real in such surroundings, and I long to grasp the lost reality of home.

I suppose the consolation in such an experience is this:  If I know and love and crave my peaceful life at home, but even with all my desire I cannot connect with it in this noisy place; I can trust that when I return home in a couple of days, all the glitz and glitter will live in my memories but not in my heart.  Whatever unusual and not-s0-pleasant things might come our way, we can rest assured that nothing lasts forever.  So I guess the best I can do is to take it all in — live where I find myself today — and do my best to hold onto this neon world.  Tomorrow it will be only a memory.