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Seeds of something fine

Catch a falling star in the act

Staff writer

On the way home from a family evening out last week, I was staring out the car window, as I often do, and I saw a falling star. Such a sight has been a rare thing in my life, and it always makes me feel just the way I’m supposed to — I feel small and somehow special at the same time.

That night, as that star blazed across the sky exactly where I was staring, I stopped mid-sentence just to watch it. By the time the star dissolved I couldn’t recall what I’d been saying.

One of our very first nights in Marion, my husband and I were sitting on our back porch with a dear friend who had flown out to help us move. He’s a very close, longtime friend of Michael’s — like a brother.

The three of us had worked hard all day and the baby was finally asleep, so we grabbed drinks and headed outside for good conversation among old friends. I’ve always found campfires and fire pits to be good places for these gatherings, but we had nothing like that. We put a citronella candle on a stool and sat on camping chairs.

The conversation ebbed and flowed and warmed us all. At one point, a longer pause found us all staring up at the sky. And what a sky it was! So many more stars than I’m used to.

One of my favorite parts of living in a rural area is that a spectacle akin to those that were rare treats for me growing up, glows above me every night here in Marion.

And the thing about a sky with so many more stars visible is, usually, if I stare up into the night sky long enough, I see a falling star.

That night with our friend we stared so long our necks were sore, but each of us saw at least three.

I’ve taken the time to stare up at night a handful of times since then, and I can honestly say I have seen a falling star every single time.

So, why don’t I do it more often? If something so rare and awe-inspiring is up there every night, why don’t I take the time to look?

I don’t have a good answer. I have loved the night sky and the connection I feel with it since I was very young, and I even have a bit of an obsession with falling stars. I should look every night, but I don’t.

Maybe I get weighed down by the things that are harder than I thought they’d be when we moved from the Big City. Maybe I forget. Maybe I don’t like being cold. Like I said, I don’t really have a good reason.

When I stopped mid-sentence the other night, I was actually mid-yetanothergripe and pretty worked up as I recall — but I completely forgot what I was so upset about. That, alone, is reason to make an effort to catch more stars in the act, I think.

If each one can make me forget my death-grip on worry long enough to see something spectacular, I should be camped out nightly on my front lawn with my eyes taped open.

For now, I can at least commit to looking up from my worries more often with hope of catching something rare and beautiful in the act.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2010

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