Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Starry Night

There were thousands of stars in the night sky over our house in Bryantville.
On any given night I used to walk among them.
The only lights on our dead-end dirt road were from the porch lights of each house. Our street was surrounded by woods on three sides. Even with the house lights it was a medieval darkness, one that stirred the soul and fired the imagination.
Each night I could be found walking up and down our street with Suki so she could do her business. By this time she was an old dog and the leash laws had just been enforced. While no one in our neighborhood would ever have complained about the old girl we decided to walk her at night instead of letting her roam free.
While we walked I would look up at the stars in the clear, night sky and wonder. I used to think that I was born 200 years too early or 200 years too late. I firmly believed that I was meant to pilot by the stars, either on an old sailing vessel or out among them on a spaceship heading to distant worlds.
I used to dream about life on a planet around any one of the thousands of stars above me. Looking up at the night sky like this first lead me to believe that there is no way that we are alone in the infinite universe. I believed that somewhere there was another young being looking up at our sun and wondering about us, too.
I used to wonder what the world was like 1000 years ago, when mankind would look up at the sky from around their night fire. I was burning to know what they thought when they saw the illuminated firmament over their heads. I would look for the constellations and hear the myths about them being told by a wise man even as wood was added to the fire and burning sparks filled the air.
On nights when the moon was full and high I imagined what it was to stand on the moon and gaze back down upon the Earth. Was there a man on the moon? I know I saw his face...
That was then.
Today the night sky is spoiled by the light pollution from the city. What was once a harmony of stars is now just a flicker of lights, faded and spoiled.
The night sky and the stars above once filled me with dreams and sent my imagination soaring. I used to look forward to my nightly walks with Suki. Alone with my thoughts, I once walked among the stars and I traveled the universe.
Today I may not have the stars but I know that they are there. And, once in a while, I still pilot by the stars and hear the ancient storytellers.


Blogger Cynthia said...

I first fell in love with the stars on Cape Hatteras when I was about 14. We were camping at the National Seashore near the famous lighthouse. Every night on my way to the restroom and then back to the campsite I would look up as I walked, overwhelmed by the billions of stars and the dark midnight blue. It was there I first saw the Milky Way and stood in awe of our diminutive place in the galaxy.

As was said in Carl Sagan's Contact, if we're alone, it's an awful waste of space.

8:26 AM, September 09, 2008  
Blogger Fox In Detox said...

You need to spend some time in the Caribbean, my friend. I recommend Bimini or Walker's Cay... one of the smaller islands. Light is not an issue...and the stars are as big as snowballs.

9:58 AM, September 09, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

Let's go, Kathy.

10:00 AM, September 09, 2008  
Blogger Bridget said...

My love for the stars comes from my many long summers in Vermont, my grandmother's passion for astronomy and my parent's love for meteor showers. I remember laying outside in the snow in sleeping bags with my father watching the Leonids meteor shower in November. Some years we'd take sleeping bags to the beach to get the best viewing without light pollution. The most awe inspiring thing I ever saw though was The Northern Lights in Putney, VT. I had heard about them, but once experienced you can't help but ponder the universe. We are definitely not alone.

12:37 PM, September 10, 2008  
Blogger gawland said...

I must admit, top-of-the-hill in middle-of-nowhere Fitchburg has advantages in the brilliance of the starfield. All that said I'd still prefer to tag along to the Caribbean and view from there..

11:53 AM, September 11, 2008  

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