The stars at night

We had quite a show here last night. The sun set red over the Blue Ridge and its rolling foothills, and hours before it got dark, mists rose from the hollows, the warm fields breathing steam after a pounding rain. By 9 o’clock, fireflies spangled the veils of moisture like sequins on  “Dancing with the Stars.”

Couple the winking-blinking firefly derrieres with the Scheherazade (or in the original Persian: شهرزاد Šahrzād) smells of jasmine and my grandmother’s climbing pink rose, the music of happy tree frogs and one fretful  lamb, and you have our soft summer nights in sense-around.

I asked a former editor long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away — we were walking around the Stanford campus at the time — if she thought other people had these moments of breath-taking, astonishing beauty in their lives. Moments when there is no response but “Wow.” I can’t remember what we decided, other than that we ourselves were so lucky to have so many.

Don’t worry. No recipes for frogs’ legs or lamb chops follow. But our dazzling meadows tie into weight loss thusly: You cannot hope to be a happy, healthy person (at a happy, healthy weight) without things like this in your life, non-food things that make you say “Wow” or “Thank you” or whatever it is you say at such moments.

So go seek out those moments for yourself. They needn’t be any more elaborate than stopping supper preparations to watch your husband walk your baby girl to the swing in the yard and imagining her 20 years in the future, gone to college.

And while you’re seeking, my new favorite almost-no-cholesterol breakfast: Whole-wheat toast, 2 tablespoons of Nutella and a glass of skim milk. The chocolate-hazlenut butter  makes me feel as though I’m eating something dangerous — it’s that good.


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