themes and issues

Stars’n’wishes

The astronomical phenomenon of the meteor shower of the Perseids, or “Saint Lawrence’s tears”, as it is also called, takes place every year in the first weeks of August and is one of the summer appointments I mostly like.

There are many constellations of the summer sky that I’ve learnt to recognize since that night, really a long long time ago, when my grandfather took me for an evening  walk and showed me for the first time the constellation of the Swan in the starry summer sky. That was when I decided that I wanted to be an astronomer.  😉

Since then I’ve learnt to spot some of the planets in our solar system and added other constellations to my list: Cassiopeia (the great “W” in the sky), the Great Bear and the Little Bear, the Dragon, the Dolphin, Hercules, the Scorpion and Antares, its bright red star, the Eagle, Andromeda and Perseus, Lyra (its brightest star, Vega, is just right above our heads) and many others. Like old friends who come by for a short visit, their silent presence above fills me with awe, together with the almost touchingly sensation of how small we all are in front of this universe, placidly showing its millions of different lives and wonders.

I usually listen to music while watching at the summer sky. There is only one CD I listen to while doing it, because in my opinion the universe above deserves nothing less… and as the notes of “Shine on your crazy diamond” by Pink Floyd start dancing in the air, I feel lifted as if in another world, as part of the beauty I’m looking at… until I’m lost in it. 🙂

I don’t have wishes to ask for, maybe because I’m old and experienced enough now to set them aside and live my life as it comes, while following my own set of moral rules. This is why I am always taken aback whenever I see a falling star… what can I wish for that I have not already wished for earlier in my life, and was never granted?

Nevertheless the child in me smiles with wonder each time I see the sudden bright trail of a “shooting star”, and although I have studied that a “Perseid meteor” is just one tiny particle of dust (out of millions that were left in our solar system by a passing comet) which burns when it comes into contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, just like a child who remembers the rules of a game too well not to play it, in that moment I really believe it’s a small star falling somewhere in the universe just to grant my wish, and I start playing my game with the generous stars… and like a child I make my own wishes, again. 🙂

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