I was walking my dog in the park one beautiful fall morning when Train's song Drops of Jupiter came blaring into my earbuds; with it floods of memories from my six month long trip to Africa rushed into my mind; specifically a moment in Malawi sitting alone under a thatched roof umbrella . I remembered sitting there with tears flowing down my cheek realizing my return flight to the States was only a couple weeks away.
Drops of Jupiter was getting heavy play on the radio before I left for Africa in the fall of 2001. It was one of the few songs I knew the lyrics to. As I sat there on the shore of Lake Malawi, two short haired big mixed breed dogs came wondering up wagging their tails in hopes of affection. I moved from the chair to the sandy floor; a dog on either side and I sang - badly may I add - Drops of Jupiter to them.
I was forty years old and going through a drastic mid-life crisis. Up until the point when I sold everything and moved to Africa, I was a workaholic, stuffy, determined and probably boring person.
But for the months before that Malawi sunset I had found in me a person that had been deeply buried in day planners and How to be Better at Business books. The newly discovered me was canoeing down the Zambezi with hippos; wild camping among lions and leopards; guarding my vehicle from thieving baboons at the border post into Zambia; flying in single engine planes over the Kalahari desert and singing to stray dogs on the shores of Lake Malawi.
The same angels who sat on my shoulder giving me the strength and courage to follow my dream to head to Africa in the first place were the very angels feeding me the lyrics to Drops of Jupiter at the end of my journey.
"But tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet? Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day and head back to the Milky Way? And tell me, did you fall for a shooting star? One without a permanent scar and then you missed me while you were looking for yourself out there?"
The beach of Lake Malawi was the perfect beach. I was singing the perfect song with the perfect companions. In the time I was in Africa she gave me a great gift; a better version of me. I found me out there in the light of the African day as the winds of Lake Malawi swept me off my feet and I saw my first ever shooting star.
From now on I will dance along the light of every day.