the wild and starry sky

they talk about how lovely it is, the sky,

and how this phenomenon or that

is about to happen

and how we all should go out and

Observe

 

I get a little crazy at this,

the idea of something like Halley’s comet

happening only once in my lifetime

is too much weight to bear

if I miss it, there are no second chances, are there?

 

it all feels so finite

 

and I don’t need reminding of how short

life is,

this journey,

the paths that just stop

way too suddenly

leaving those of us who loved them

in shock, arms empty, weeping

 

longing to run out into the dark night

and shout at the stars

with anger until our voices are raw and

almost gone and we have nothing left

and we collapse to the earth–

“didn’t you have enough? why did

you need another one to shine through the

darkness when you already have so many?”

 

our world is so much darker now that there

are more stars

 

and still we follow the crowds out the door

to look up in wonder and ooh and ahh

over the once in a lifetime sight to behold

 

knowing that we had a once in a lifetime treasure

walking beside us for a while

we stifle our pain and smile to disguise our

tear-stained cheeks

 

and gaze up in amazement

that has nothing to do with the wild and starry sky

we look up and keep our screams and fears and

heartbreak to ourselves

we lift our eyes, unseeing, as the memories

play across the screen of our hearts

like those planetarium shows did when we were young

 

but we save all of that for a night

when there is no eclipse or comet or colorful lights

to mark the passing of our lives by,

for a night when the crowds have all gone

and we stand out there alone

beneath the darkened dome

and tell the heavens of

the heaviness in our hearts

and the darkness that still is,

despite all the light from above

and in the quiet of the night, the wind blows

and the tears fall to the ground, the echo

of their sadness

the only sound for miles around

 

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Stars and Lamplight

Some folks say the stars make them feel small.

That they look up and they see those stars and they start to comprehend just a little about how big the universe actually is, and then they feel very, very small.

Not me.

I don’t know which parent it was who taught me to look up and make a wish on the first star I saw each night, but it’s something that I still do today.  Though most of the time now the wish is a wordless sigh and more about hope than anything else.

When I got over the whole being terrified of being out at night in the dark under the stars, it had the opposite effect on me.  I felt pretty important.  Just me–and the stars–the lights of Heaven twinkling down.  I felt–

important.  Loved.  As though the Creator were handing me a beautiful painting to gaze upon, all for myself.

Treasured.  Related.  Intertwined with All That Is.

Friday evening on our way back home from Atlanta, when we hit the “parking lot” on the roads to home, the Fella used an “app” on his phone to map us a more “traffic free” way to get where we were going.

Next thing I know we are driving through neighborhoods and subdivisions just as the world was beginning to go dark.

And then it happened.

There were the twinkling lights.

And I felt smaller than I’ve ever felt.

It wasn’t the stars.

It was the lights in the homes we passed.

Lamps in living rooms, situated on end tables with an open book in the chair next to it.

Lights on in the dining rooms with the tables all set.

Porch lights on, waiting for the last of the family to arrive home for a cozy supper and a family movie night.

Lights on upstairs where children played or teenagers read or texted or…..

small.  Tee-niny, as we used to say.

 

There are more people in this world whom I don’t know than ones I do.

There are people who live and love and grieve and laugh and share and plan and dream and write and read and play and dance and swim and sing and cook and hate and help and jump and run and paint and…..

there are more people in this world than just me and mine.

It was when I saw the lights on in these homes–so intimate and precious–that the universe felt big to me.

All of those people with whom my path will likely never cross again?

They matter just as much as I do to the One who breathed life into me.

Just.  Wow.

It’s not all about me.  It’s not all about the ones I love.

There’s a whole world of hurting and love and beauty and brokenness that I’ve got no idea about.

And that–

that’s what makes me feel small.

And somewhat lost.  In the chaos of this world.

I think it might be time for a walk under the stars.

Tonight I’m thankful for lights shining through the darkness, giving warmth and comfort to those on the other side of the wall.  And for the reminder that we are all loved.  We are all treasured.  And we are all connected to each other.

Star light, star bright…..

Love to all.

Butterflies and Rain and Standing Outside the Dome

This morning school went so well that we had time for a swim.  While we were there, a toddler climbed out and said, “Dere he is,” pointing at a butterfly on the pavement.  My stomach lurched.  No no no no no, don’t drip on him.

I can remember when I learned two different bits of information when I was growing up.  One scared me, and one made me very sad.  Both were traumatizing.

The first thing was that when a butterfly’s wings get wet, they die.  This broke my heart, imagining the loss of so many precious lovelies losing their lives in a summer storm.  It is just tonight that I learn that might just be a myth.  But watching the little butterfly today, I know it’s not great for them.  With damp wings, she just flitted around, close to the hot pavement, and very much in danger of being trampled by unknowing feet.  It took me a long time when I was young to get through a rainstorm without thinking of the poor butterflies and getting a bit upset.

The next thing, the really scary thing, was the day I found out we live on the outside of planet Earth and not inside the dome.  I mean look around outside, that’s a logical assumption, right?  It looks like a dome above and around us, don’t you think?  On the day I found out we do NOT live inside a dome, the sky was the clearest blue with wisps of white clouds floating way up high.  The laundry on the line, soaking up the sunshine, smelled sweet in the way that only sun-dried laundry does.  The grass was summer green and freshly cut.  Birds were singing, butterflies were flocking to the butterfly bushes.  Idyllic.

And I was terrified.  I wanted to run in the house as fast as I could and stay there.  Forever.  You mean, we are just dangling on the outside of this…..ball?  At any minute I could float off into the nether regions of space?  Oh.  my.  stars.  Literally.  I was gripped with fear.  When my feet finally moved, I did go inside.  I felt very small and vulnerable and unprotected in a way I never had before.  And most likely haven’t since.  My whole world shifted that day.

Gravity’s a really, really good thing, I decided.  I tried not to worry over when it might give out.  Ahem.

All of that came rushing back to me today in the few seconds of watching the little girl’s delight with the butterfly.  Even though the information about the butterfly might not be completely accurate, and so far so good on the whole gravity thing keeping my feet on the ground, all of the emotions came rushing back too.  Fear, panic, sadness, pain, feeling lost and heartbroken…..

Isn’t it funny what can take us back in time?  What our brains decide to store and hang on to?  What they decide to forget?

And isn’t it interesting what our little people brains decide about the world and hang on to with a death grip, when we first start assimilating all the information in the world that’s out there to learn?  (I think I thought my parents were teasing or just flat-out ridiculous when they told me that about the earth.  I mean, how is that even possible, right?)

I look forward to tomorrow’s lessons.  I think I know what we will start off with.  A little research on butterflies (I need my facts straight–if I’ve worried for nothing all these years…..) and a lesson on gravity.  I don’t want them to grow up frightened or misinformed.  Life’s hard enough to comprehend without all that getting in the way.

Love to all.