Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Stars

Some weeks ago, after stepping out of a taxi on a typically frosty night, I noticed that the stars in the night sky were particularly visible. Since getting inside the warm house seemed a far more pressing need, I only took a quick glance as I darted for the door. I then stood on the front step waiting for Fin to unlock the door for far longer than I ought to have, given the frigid conditions.

Somewhat agitated, I spun around to see Fin, utterly motionless, mouth agape, as he stared up at the celestial bodies. I prompted him to get his ass in gear and let me inside, and after a brief pause, he responded by slowly and deliberately lifting his right arm, then outstretching his index finger towards the heavens.

“But... Ursa Major” he whined, still transfixed by the display.

Envious of his rather efficient beer-coat, and intrigued to experience stargazing with someone who at least sounds convincingly educated on the subject, I strolled away from my stoop, sidled up behind him, and aligned my eyes with his quavering finger, which had now hung suspended for at least half a minute.

Once my field of view no longer included the porch lights, street lamps and such, the universe suddenly snapped into focus, revealing thousands of twinkling lights, each vying for my attention, and I felt a sudden pang of shame for not truly appreciating them before.

As soon as I was in position behind him, Fin traced a line from point to point on the brightest stars, and again muttered those magical four syllables: “Ursa Major”, then drunkenly wandered towards the house.

I stood there in the yard for another few moments, staring up at the impossible immensity of what lay before me, feeling entirely inferior about my ignorance about what I was witnessing, yet elated by the childish awareness that I was looking billions of years into the past, able to contemplate the sheer insignificance of myself and yourself and ourselves on this incredible planet.

As I looked as far as I could into the deepest blacks of space, now blissfully unperturbed by the Arctic conditions, I came to a realisation. Whilst I once scoffed at his rather poorly-contextualised and ham-fistedly expressed effusion, I can proudly stand by Fin and admit what should be true of any man, woman or child with a sense of wonder:

“The stars, I love them”

1 comment:

Sully said...

I intended mentioning that this post was prompted when I found out that 2009 is the 'International Year of Astronomy'.

Also, the absolutely retarded ending should hopefully atone for the slagging I gave Fin for that very same clumsy arrangement of words, thus restoring my karmic balance...