noun: a fixed luminous point in the night sky that is a large, remote incandescent body like the sun; a conventional or stylized representation of a star, typically one having five or more points.
This is my “S” contribution to the “A to Z Challenge.”
Since I was little I’ve always been fascinated with the stars. Growing up in a small town in rural Iowa, you could look up at the night sky and see stars for miles and miles: an endless sea of twinkling lights.
I fondly remember running around in the backyard after dark, the sound of the frogs and crickets a sort of symphonic backdrop to chasing fireflies and picking out the Big Dipper amongst the rest of the constellations. There were nights that the stars were so bright you almost didn’t need the streetlights to see where you were going.
Even though it wasn’t a star, I recall when Hale Bopp was a fixture in the night sky – the longest running comet you could see with the naked eye since 1811. For 18 months you could see it amongst the rest of the cosmos in 1997. It wasn’t until much, much later that I would learn more about the cult that committed suicide linked with this very celestial body.
When I moved into a bigger community, you couldn’t see the stars as much at night. And when I moved to Minneapolis for college, you could hardly see them at all.
It wasn’t until I was older that I realized just how much I MISSED being able to see the stars.
I’m sure I’ve stated multiple times in the past, but my husband and I both grew up in smaller communities, and once we had children we decided that we wanted to move back to a smaller, more tightly-knit community away from the Cities. We eventually settled in Wyoming, MN, and have been here ever since.
That first night in our new house, it was a New Moon, and the sky was so dark. Thomas and I couldn’t believe how dark it was. And quiet—no sirens, no drunks screaming at each other as they walked down the street, no traffic. It was almost eerie—like we were at the edge of the world.
I can’t really recall the first night I realized that we could once again see the stars in our backyard. I remember them being so… bright, and they looked so close—like you could just extend your hand and snatch them from the sky.
Once we got Chymera, and I would take her for walks in the evenings and early mornings, as the days got shorter and the sky darkened more and more, it was always something else to look up, especially in the wee early hours of the morning, and just see an entire ocean of stars above. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over just how breathtaking it is to know just how small all of us are in comparison to what’s going on in the sky thousands and millions of light years away from us.
Stay spacey, friends!