Stars in combinations are a curious thing. Written across the night sky by your imagination. Or that of others, from times long past, perhaps. Just an outline of points that run into pattern of stationary shapes. Night after night. The same, and yet changing with the seasons and the position of the earth. The pattern of things that are familiar and of those less known. Some have meaning and some point to something larger. Individual and combined together. Why is it that the North Star is always there stationary, and others spin around in the pirouette of the dance of the night…
Stable and yet changing. The odd way that some stars are closer but less bright and some farther and more intense. For the simple and the complicated combinations of small clusters that look like only one, until you get some help of the telescope. Then it comes to the truth of the thing. And then you know, and you cannot “un-see” the thing. Easily distinguished by even the young child, or hard for most adults that have been often told, and there is the story of it unfolding before your eyes. And then you know of it, and you can pick it out. With a child-like wonder, there is awe. Even if it may be upside down this evening, you know.
We listen to the tale of the story as it unfolds. Near the glowing embers of the cool evening. With the few, or the one. We didn’t see the constellation… even as we had seen the individual stars. We didn’t notice the shape of the thing, or what it represented. Hopes and those hope parts broken apart. Some pieces were bright, and we saw them early in the evening, as twilight closed. Other parts were less brilliant and only come out to be seen as the night drew darkness around, to let them be seen. Some with only the aid of a tool for the task. Other shapes needed some help from a friend to be sure of the combination. Some practice may have been the tool to see the thing at all. And then it could not be “un-seen”.
There are some that only will be given to you in the winter or the early mornings, just before the dawn of the next day. Hidden by time or a lack of attention to the need to get away from the glow of the city that keeps them hidden. I am one that loves the crisp winter night darkness, but I get cold and go inside. So, I miss them. Unwilling to pay the cost of the preparation for the event, it is mine to miss. They were there if I would have stayed. I chose not to. Again…
The tale of the vulnerability was there for me to witness if I would have waited for the clouds to move away. The appearance of the first glimpse of them breaking through the wisp of the leaving cloud was something to know would come, if I was patient. When I am, and they arrive in their brilliance, it is worth the cost of admission. To see into the depth of the story and to hear the telling of the placement of the parts that make the whole. Some more intense and some far away. Some closely overlapping and only distinguishable by the help of the tools of the description of a friend. To see that the planet was not a part of but simply passing through, like a distraction, like it needed to add it’s own color to the story of the glimmering lights.
The idea that these lights may have already burned up in the distant past, but the light is slowly making its way here, shining for me to still see. That the tale of that part of the story which has lost the power of the beginning and is now only a part of the history of the thing, is a curious addition to this thing called a constellation. Similar to the parts of a story of times past. Of wounding events of long ago, to a person you are not now, but is still a part of the object in the tale. Consumed of the intense and burning time when it took place, and now simply the cold sterile part of the story of the shape that it is part of, that is seen by those that will wait until it is cold and dark. One curious part of this is that you need to stand with your back to the fire that warms, to let the bright light of the fire not out shine the majesty of the stars that are now before you.
Constellations of points of brightness in the midst of darkness. People that came to help and to listen and to actually hear. People that stood with their backs to the fire to actually see what was going on in the vastness of space and time. Memories of the times of being alone in the darkness and wishing that someone would see your stars being placed in the heavens… Memories. Some clear and bright, some less so. Some you cannot even see, but know they are there. Gaps in the tale on the way to the next point of light.
To those that see the night sky filled with the lights of many stars, there may be no connection. Lots of little glimmering points in the midst of lots of glimmering points. But you can see them with a different set of eyes. The eyes of the initiated and the experienced. Old, in a way. And in ways older than your years. By experience, not by time. Constellations of a story that only you have walked. That only you can tell. If you will. To one that will listen. If they will. Perhaps, like the Northern Star, that can be a beacon of stability and a guide to others. And perhaps there is only the knowledge that this is a story that is for the amusement of the day. And everything in between. Some brighter and some covering a light behind. Points on the way to somewhere else, telling of a time of someplace past.
Constellations for the telling of a story. For the telling, if you will. The story is worth the price of admission, for those that will pay to hear. The fee is vulnerability. The more the worth, the more the value. The vulnerability is on both parts. The telling and the listening, and we need to practice both. It is not easy to see the more complicated, but it is worth the training and the effort. For both of you. To practice and to fail and to try again. There is a kind of permanence to the thing, in a way. To know it is always there for the friend to see, especially after the tale has been told. To know they know. And that they paid the fee to gain the knowledge of the telling. And in this is a friend. To be one, to have one. It is time to pay the fee. You will then be free. To look anew at your constellation with new eyes, and to have a bit of wonder at the heavens and all that is there. Dark space and bright shiny bits in the midst… Even when the clouds cover them and yet you know. And so do I.
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