Every step away from the festering blight of suburbia brings me more in touch with who I am and what is important. I hadn't seen many of my family members in attendance in at least 5 years, some as long as 12 years. Three years ago seems like a totally different lifetime since I was nearly a completely different person in almost every way possible. Being able to interact with these wonderful people as a free individual was amazing and as we all were gathered in a circle dancing at the end of the night I thought "if there was a heaven, I think it would be just like this".
After we said our goodbyes and retired to our campsite, we dragged our sleeping bags outside to gaze up at the incredible display of the universe. Looking at the Milky Way and the innumerable stars I didn't feel small or weak, but instead was filled with a desire to explore. We spend way too much time with our eyes glued to screens or absorbed in the daily grind that we have ceased to look up at where we came from. I told my girlfriend "if there was a real Star Trek, I would sign up". Imagining all the possibilities out there inspires me to do whatever I can do to learn and explore. After seeing several shooting stars and something I'll never be able to explain, we headed to bed filled with excitement for the future but also sadness that it had to end for the moment.
Walking away from religion and a belief in a supreme God, I've come to a point where the only two things that bear significance and merit are relationships and respect and understanding of the universe. Everything else is vanity at best. Find a connection to people and places that mean something to you and let the mass of memories grow drawing you closer and closer to the point where it consumes and embraces you.