stars When I think of stars, I think of the ones from my childhood in Arizona. Brilliant desert stars not only flickering and winking at you from above but all around you too - even to the sides of you so if you stretched your arms out wide, you could touch them with your fingertips. I also think of my grandmother, Nana reminding us to look up and admire their magnificence after a dinner out at the Quilted Bear or Mother Tucker's.

I think of last summer when I woke my son up at midnight so he could see a shooting star for the first time. From a deck outside of a house on Nantucket, we watched with awe filled silence as the stars fell from the sky like magic pixie dust.

I think of the stars on Lake George in the Adirondacks. The ones that laid smiling on the lake. The ones that laughed with us while my friends and I paddled around in our canoe yelling, "BEAR" in the middle of the night, warning the other campers. We believed the water to be our only safe haven after a visit from a not very big black bear around our campfire.

I imagine the other campers sleeping soundly in their toasty sleeping bags nestled in their tents cursing at us and our melodrama.

But I had never seen a bear before! When I first spotted him uncomfortably close to one of my friends, I thought someone was playing a prank and dressed like a bear to scare the crap out of us. As if that was a normal occurrence. But I was petrified of this man eating beast! And when we fled to the water to paddle for our lives, my glasses fell off in the process. And I can't see very well without them.

But the stars were so brilliant you didn't need glasses.

After paddling back to our site, hightailing it to my friend's little red Chevrolet Cavalier in the parking lot and spending the night there, we went back the next morning finding my glasses at the water's edge. I plucked them out and thanked the powers that be.

I also thank the bear. If he hadn't paid us a visit that night, we never would have gotten out on the lake. And we would have missed all of that beauty...all of those twinkly stars guiding us home.