I’ve spent endless nights in the mountains. I’ve done this more after my Mom passed away. It’s like as the stars shine, I see her smile reflected in them. However, despite my deep emotions, I had never managed to capture the graceful arc of the Milky Way. Especially trying to photograph a panorama of the celestial highway. That was until one early morning – 2am to be precise – where I found myself at the Moccasin Creek State Park.

I entered the Park imagining that the very heart of the Milky Way would be reflecting keenly on the surface of Lake Burton. But we are but an infinitesimal speck in front of the majesty and working of way of Mother Nature. So even after two hours of driving up north from Atlanta – despite seeing the waning moon still gleaming all the way through – I was still at the mercy of Nature’s doing. Thankfully, she was at my side.

The vast expanse of the moonlit sky was bathed in countless stars. Breathing the damp mountain air, the Milky Way began to emerge gradually. But it was too close to the horizon, and my heart sank again in expectation of another failed attempt. I told my heart to be still. I argued with the clouds, pleaded with the horizon, fought with the elements for a whole two hours more.

Mother Nature smiled. And acceded. I had snapped what I wanted. I had snatched a victory dance from the vertical panels of the complete arc. As soon as I had my money shot, as if on cue, the clouds began to move in again. A knowing smile of thankfulness escaped my lips.

And why not? Under the tapestry of the celestial beauty, it wasn’t just Mother Nature that had blessed me with her awe-inspiring sight. Even my dear Mother had showered her blessings on me. It was a poignant, yet memorable moment.

I spoke to the stars. I spoke to Mom. I spoke my heart out – laughter, tears, feelings, joy – a cornucopia of emotions accosted my very being.

I do believe what they say now – we do become stars after we pass away.