Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Photo borrowed from astronomy site - sorry, can't remember quite where I found it

I've finished up the last several nights by laying cuddled up on my couch with a blanket and Rosie, watching for shooting stars from the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. What? Laying on the couch? Well, yeah. It helps that I still have my new couch (now officially dubbed "the hippie couch" by Sam and William) sitting out in the middle of the front lawn. Better than calling it my "white trash couch" I suppose.) It's coming in soon. In fact if I don't, the sun is going to start to fade that luxurious 70's golden faux fur upholstery. So, soon.

The meteor shower peaked this last Saturday and Sunday night and, if I'd remembered, the night sky was particularly clear and dark this last weekend. But I didn't remember until Monday. Monday was a bit hazy, but still, I saw about a half dozen falling stars in a half hour or so. We're fortunate to live so far from any big city lights. Even though the sky isn't as dramatic as the photo above, we can still see the Milky Way on any clear night by just stepping outside our front door.

I tried different reclining positions, different pillow directions, trying to see the most sky possible between the trees and the lights from the neighbor and the clouds that were wrapped over the south eastern corner of the sky. I thought of the falling star in Gaiman's Stardust. I thought of the fate of the characters in the story. I thought of how many stars there are in the sky and how many choices there are a person's life. Does fate guide our choices or do we guide our fate? I didn't come to any conclusions and eventually, reclining under the stars, I thought mostly of whether I wanted to lay there with my eyes open so I could see more falling stars or if I wanted to let my eyes close so I could sleep amd dream.

I stayed out longer on Tuesday and saw about a dozen falling stars. I determined to lay under the stars until I had found some pearl of wisdom in my ponderings of life, an analogy between stargazing and life in general. Something to do with making choices, as I've been feeling rather overwhelmed by choices lately, both small daily ones and my neverending and self absorbed search for the best long term ones. It's felt lately as if I have as many choices to make in my life as there are stars in the sky - there must be a connection there. Instead I got side tracked wondering why we seem to find beauty instead of sadness in a falling star. I mean, nowadays we know that falling stars are just a bit of cosmic dust burning up in the atmosphere but long ago did people think that with each streak of light across the inky blackness a star was lost from the heavens forever? Do falling stars, perhaps, represent those choices in our life that are lost to us? Or are they streaking beacons guiding us towards a decision?

Alas, the only pearl I managed to create out of my stargazing was that stargazing in and of itself is therapeutic. I didn't come to any decisions or find any new wisdom under the heavens, but laying outside I found my mind stopped twirling in circles, my body relaxed, my hearing sharpened (crickets, wind, a semi far up on the grade, a cow mooing, a deer walking down the street - Okay, that last one was always followed by Rosie's frantic barking), my breathing slowed, and it didn't seem to matter if I was wise or decisive. It was enough just to enjoy the moment.

Tonight my son Sam was home for an unexpected visit and he and hubby joined me under the stars. Stargazing shared was less meditative but no less relaxing. It seemed to bring out a reflective mood in all of us. Although, to be honest, it could have been the beer and mojito (my first - YUM!) that set the mood tonight as well.

So, that's it. What? You thought I'd wrap this up all wise word and lesson-y? Sorry. I tried. I really did. In fact, I wanted it as much so I could share it with you as I did for myself. But the best I got was - stargazing is a good thing. Even if it doesn't make me a better philosopher or poet. It makes me happy. And in the moment, it seems to be enough. Decisionmaking, it seems, can always wait until morning.


Blogger Miss Elena said...

I know what you mean.
I wish that I lived farther away from the city.
we never see stars down here

11:14 AM  

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