When I’m feeling alone, hurt, discouraged, or broken-hearted, although it may seem strange, I look up to these huge bright beaming prison lights and find comfort.

I wonder if the moon can see the lights, I know airplanes have to see them, because I see theirs as they pass over the prison. Their massive energy pushing out yellowish and silver white fuzzy light like giant candles growing out of the earth, or beacons on the coast, and maybe even a weird spaceship landing.

When I wake up early and its still dark, I lay on my bunk under the covers thinking back on fond memories under the lights of Stevens Pass skiing as a kid, hanging out with friends up in the mountains and being able to see these very lights illuminating the sky. Walking around the track under the lights of Monroe Bearcat football games with the guys talking about all the girls we we’re crazy for.

I was born and raised right here in Monroe, just about every memory has these very lights in them. My children are having similar experiences. When they were born we lived directly behind the prison, a few years later we moved down to the Fry Lands beneath the looming prison lights. Now they both attend high school on the other side of the prison fence.

I imagine that my love, compassion, hope, and enthusiasm for life is beaming out to the universe from these lights. I know right now people that love and support me can see my light shine, and that I’m being thought of which brings me comfort. I hear people honk as they drive by, my kids and I thinking of one another looking over the razor wire wondering what the other might be doing.

Life is so wonderful. Each night before I fall asleep I look up through the cold hard prison bars and thank these beacons of light for being such a big part of my life.

Marshall Byers