Last night, lying on the trampoline, staring up at the dark sky that was powdered liberally with less-dark clouds and sprinkled with sugar-sparkle stars everywhere the clouds weren't, I was boneless and content. Beneath me the trampoline gently swayed up and down with our breathing and the small movements we made. Crickets sang like mad in the ditch and the pasture. A dove cooed in the darkness. I kept thinking I could hear rain coming, pattering down quick and dancing, but it was always just the wind rustling the leaves of the lilacs and bird cherry trees, pressing the fir branches across the ditch together and ruffling the grasses.
We were snug as bugs in a rug, quite literally, in fact. Wrapped in the warmth of a fleece and a comforter, with a sausage-roll of blanket-wrapped child on each side of me and my arms up and hands under my head, I could have lain there forever, looking up at the stars and the slowly moving cloud patterns. I could have fallen asleep but instead I eased into a higher state of wakefulness more and more as my eyes adjusted and my gaze sharpened to the depths of galaxies. Stars faded out as clouds came in and reappeared minutes later as if they'd never been gone. The big dipper shone steadily up to our right. Planes on the route to Copenhagen passed overhead, one quite close, others high, high up, moving like satellites. Satellites moving like planes. Stars, planets, and comet debris all dancing across the wheeling black bowl above.
Shooting stars are strange beasts. They go so quickly that you think you imagined them. "O!" you cry, and then they're gone. Just as you're reaching to point and your child's eyes are turning in the right direction, it's too late. They're gone. EVERYTHING seems to move, whirling and turning above you but it's just the tricksy clouds playing with your tired mind and the tricksy twinkly stars with no context or background to pin them down. Most of the shooting stars we saw were coming from the north. Karin saw two. I saw four, for sure. Martin beat us all with 7 definites and 4 maybes. He kept seeing them out of the corners of his eyes but I suspect tricksy luminous points of retinal blood vessels. Rub your eyes for a minute and YOU'LL see shooting stars, too.
For some, they're shooting. For others, falling. For me, they're flares in the night. Torches briefly lit and held by a runner that burns up in the race. Funny to think that they're shooting overhead all the lengths of the days too, though we don't see, as if the gun that fired them had a silencer.
I don't know why but we didn't even think to wish upon them. Not even upon the first stationary star we saw that night. Star light, star bright. Who needs wishes when you've got shooting stars for your birthday week every year?
What wishes have you made upon a star (or not) lately, whether still or shooting through the atmosphere, blazing either way?