On the Night Sky


Last night, just before bed, I took my dog Tucker out for his final stroll around the yard.  He’s an old guy; it takes some time.  While he was wandering, I looked up at the sky.

I make a point of doing that most nights.  Several years ago (again while walking the dogs, but back then it was two…) I looked up and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had studied the sky — night sky, day sky — for more than a few seconds to judge the weather.  It shamed me.  There is much that is marvelous to be seen in our sky, and none of it mundane.  Ever-changing; always glorious.

At any rate, I looked up at the stars and thought about how so many of them are “old friends.”  The Big Dipper was the first constellation I learned to find.  Orion’s Belt calls to me like home.  Cassiopeia.  Canis Major (and Minor).  I thought about how many are unnamed in my head (not that names matter to THEM).  I wondered how many were already dead and gone, burned out, their glory a memory of light sent across the galaxy.  I wondered what the sky would look like long after I’m gone.  There’ll be new stars, new constellations, new names.

And I will not be here to know them.

I started to cry.  Not because I fear death.  (I don’t know yet whether I fear death or not.)  I cried because it’s all so amazing, all so beautiful and incomprehensible and awful (the original meaning — full of awe; reverential; when and why did we change that word to mean something terrible?).  I cried because I will miss it.

So I told the sky that, standing out in my yard talking to the stars.  I will miss you.  I will miss your glory.  Your fierce storms and burning sun.  Your kind showers and gentle sunshine.  Your snow and clouds and ice and comets and wind and all of it.  I look out the window of my office across stone walls and fields and woods and I know at the deep heart-root of my soul that I love it.

I need to remember this feeling.  I need to carry it with me daily.  Take it out and look at it daily.  And not forget.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Darling Wendy, death, dying, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Melissa Crandall, Writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On the Night Sky

  1. Suzi says:

    Thank you for your words, for taking us on a stroll with you and Tucker through your yard, for reminding us to look again… to experience this moment while embracing, as best our little selves can, the vast past and the expanding future… imagining stars that may be long gone, but their light still reaches us, as I hope my little bit of light that I have been and am at present, will continue too… over time and space… not that I need my name attached to it, I just hope my intentions for good matter and make a difference for good for all

  2. Becky says:

    I don’t know your feelings on this, but how can anyone see such beauty all around and not believe in a forgiving, loving, generous wonderful Lord? I am reinforced in my belief daily when I see all that is before me.
    Thank you for all the wonderful visions you put in my mind.
    Becky

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