"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shooting Stars

It was a little after 2:00 AM when I stepped out the back door into the damp summery darkness. The screen door scritched closed behind me and a few careful steps across concrete brought me to the edge of the patio. I looked up to find a skyful of stars welcoming me to their dance.

Bundled in Walt's winter flannel jacket, my feet protected by flipflops, my legs bare to the night air, I moved across the lawn toward the open field where the sky would be biggest. All my senses were on alert - the smallest frisson of fear heightening everything - so when the first meteor flashed overhead I jumped and ducked.

I stepped carefully to the middle of the field, our field, the open space that makes me happy just because it is. Facing south and east, I tipped my head back, decided that wouldn't work, then stretched my body full length on the ground. As I lay in the stubble, the sweet aroma of childhood summers rose around me, and the wonders of the universe spread out above.

First one small flash, then two huge arcs of light left shadows behind my eyes. Then nothing for a while. And as I waited under the umbrella of timeless eternity - scanning, breathing, listening - the past joined me, as though it were she who invited me to this star party in the first place.

In a childhood remembered more for pain than anything else, there were moments, nuggets of pure light like the stars overhead, in which I knew hope and connection. Summer nights under a sky even more vast than this one, lying in fragrance even deeper than this night's, I knew wonder and believed in a Being far different from the one being used to control my behavior. Each shooting star invited me to travel with it, promising freedom. Venus, the closest thing to sun in the night sky, twinkled her allure and my mind invented a life in her arms. The dippers, big and little, seemed magical somehow - I couldn't imagine that their perfect form was accidental. And I pondered the possibilities of life beyond my knowing.

Another series of streaks across the sky brought me back to the now. The dog that had been barking in the distance the whole time went suddenly silent. The hum of cars on the nearby highway stopped. The random squawks and snorings of night birds paused.

 I was surrounded by stillness, as soft and blurred as the Milky Way stretched directly over my head. One moment, then two, then enough that I lost myself in the silence and the night and the perfection of being one small earthbound star enjoying the company of my brothers and sisters traveling the night sky.

Photo from Google Images


Wander to the Wayside said...

Your use of words is so magical and lyrical, and especially suited to the wonders of the sky above and the mysteries of the night. I like how you tied it in to your childhood and the comfort you found in it then. I did the same thing myself, often staring into the night sky and wondering if there was anyone in the whole wide world who was as unhappy as I was, or if somewhere in the world my birth mother remembered the child she had given away. I always found it comforting to know that 'they' could be looking at the same sky at the same moment in time.

patti said...

Deb, your post is as breathtaking as that blaze of light that's a shooting star. Testifying of hope, wonder, in a hurting world.

Thank you.

Terri Tiffany said...

Once again I become lost in your words and could be there as well. I always go back and look what I've just written in my own MS and groan that I don't capture the picture as well as you do. But by reading yours, I am learning!

#1Nana said...

I came home very, very late on Thursday from working the Lions booth at the county fair. I sat out in the hot tub and watched the meteor shower at 2:00AM...spectacular! It is wonderous to be part of something so magical. How lucky we are to have such beauty in our lives.

Loren said...

I missed the meteor shower but ~ No worries, as I just experienced it right here....in your words I was taken away :) So beautiful Deb...so very very beautiful!

Have a blessed week

kario said...

I am so pleased that in a childhood mostly remembered for it's scars, you can now recall moments of purity and light. I love knowing that we were both watching the same night sky work its magic.


patricia said...

Childhood memories are curious. Will my own kids remember, not the moments of joy and safety, that are so numerous, but the times when they felt insecure and sad? Or, because the happy is more abundant, will it snuff out those other times when everything is less? Will tiny twinges of memory touch their hearts to remind them of something painful? I can only wonder. I love hearing of your memories and how they have developed in you over time.

Wanda said...

Sounds wonderful and magical. Love the moments of silence. Wonder what made it all stop in the grand scheme of things.

Anonymous said...

I love this--every piece of it.
Especially this (what a picture!):
"As I lay in the stubble, the sweet aroma of childhood summers rose around me, and the wonders of the universe spread out above."

And like Kario, I am always glad to know that there were bright spots in that difficult and painful childhood, and that they are the ones to come to the surface now.

Barb said...

Deb, your story of the night sky takes me back, too. Luckily, the sky that shelters us all is still available to those who take time to look.

Amber said...

Oh Deb. You are SUCH A WRITER.

Also, "In a childhood remembered more for pain than anything else, there were moments, nuggets of pure light like the stars overhead, in which I knew hope and connection. "--

Yes. So funny how these have been the direction of my own thoughts as of late. I miss that simple truth and knowing inside, without all the thinking.


Kathryn Grace said...

Thank you.

Carrie Link said...

I love the tone of this, one of healed behavior! Love that your childhood had moments of happiness and true connection!

M said...

Reading this brought back memories of our childhood at the dairy...laying out on the lawn at night in our sleeping bags, looking up into the sky searching for satelites or shooting stars. Thanks for helping me to remember some of the "good" times.


Pam said...

What a wonderful thing to experience Deb. Whatever goes on in our lives, the night skies are reassuring in their constancy, and in this instance, entertaining and exciting too! Your words capture the sense of magic and delight so well and that remaining feeling of quiet respect and awe for the fascinating universe we are all part of.
Thanks for your recent visit and kind comment.x

Carol............. said...

Beautiful..felt like was there with you...Love your talent with words. Always enjoy coming here.

Tabitha Bird said...

I love the night. I start my memoir talking about me and the night sky. It's funny because I am really scared of the dark. But not the dark that is found in the night sky. That does not scare me. Dark in room. Dark in shadows. FREAKS ME OUT!

Love this post Deb.

And thank you for your comments on my blog. :) You make me smile :))