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Friday, May 11, 2012

The Stars

The Great Bear or the Big Dipper
Some nights, when I can not sleep, I unlock the front door.  I pull on my fleece over my pajamas.  Like a sailor to a siren, I am called to the stars.  I go down the front steps and move off the walk. The lawn may be snow-covered, it may be crunchy with new frost, it may be dewy, so very wet and dewy, or it may be a flat, unforgiving, dry carpet beneath my feet. The season dictates the texture of the lawn as well as the position of the stars in the sky.  I will have pulled on my Uggs or Crocs or rain boots, whatever is handy in the mud room.  Moving to the center of the yard, I wait until I am quire some distance from the house.  Instinctually, I turn to face the direction emitting the least light, then I throw back my head.  Above me, a panoply of stars fills the heavens. I feel as if I am falling into the infinite space that is, was, and ever shall be.  The stars are so numerous that the sky, itself, seems to be made up of stars.  The space between causes small rents in a brilliant, solid background of multi-colored light.  Occasionally, I catch the arching light of a comet as it streaks on its path toward extinction.  Shooting stars, make a wish and breathe.  In no more than the time it takes for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, even more stars to appear to reveal themselves. The pain that disrupted my sleep ratchets down a notch or two.  My anxious thoughts about life and children and tomorrows recede. I am left with distant, but tangible, proof that there must be order in the universe. I am filled with the sense that I am exactly where I am meant to be in time, in my life, in the world.  As I move toward the house, I begin to think about sleep.  I discard coat and boots on the floor by the door.  When I climb back into bed, I nestle down into my pillows and pull the comforter up to my ears. With my eyes closed, I still see the constellations on the back of my eyelids. Even as sleep descends the heavens remain my companion.

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